Sundowns expected to fly SA flag high in champions league

Sundowns are the only South African side left in Africa’s premier club competition.

FILE: Mamelodi Sundowns were crowned PSL champions after beating Amatuks in Pretoria pn 04 May, 2016. Picture: Twitter @Masandawana.

JOHANNESBURG - Premier Soccer League (PSL) champions Mamelodi Sundowns are 180 minutes away from possibly booking their place in the CAF Champions League final and standing in their way is Zambia's Zesco United, who they face in the first leg of the semi-finals this weekend.

Sundowns are the only South African side left in Africa's premier club competition and they are hoping to do one better than their 2001 performance, by winning the coveted title.

The last time the 'Brazilians' were in this position, they took on Angola's Petro Atletico, who they beat on penalties and then went on to face Egyptian giants and the most successful club on the continent, Al Ahly, to whom they lost 4-1 over two legs.

Coach Pitso Mosimane's men have been imperious in their second stint in the Champions League this year, blazing through the group stages, to qualify with for the last four with a game to spare.

The only blemish in the quarter-finals was their loss to Enyimba in the final group game, but for most people, the result didn't come as a surprise.

Sundowns have had an uncomfortable few days that's seen them pick up two successive draws in domestic competition - a goalless draw against Chippa United in the MTN 8 semi-finals and then another stalemate against Martizburg United in their first league game.

They have the advantage of playing their first leg away to Zesco and will be gunning for an away goal, which will see them put at least one toe in the final.

The Zambians will not make it easy for the Pretoria boys, considering their impressive result against Al Ahly, who were knocked out of the competition in the last eight.

The country will certainly be behind them as the hunger for continental glory grows, with the last team to reach the pinnacle being Orlando Pirates, 21 years ago.