ON POINT: Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane. Picture: BACKPAGEPIX/SAMUEL SHIVAMBU
ON POINT: Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane. Picture: BACKPAGEPIX/SAMUEL SHIVAMBU

MAMELODI Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane‚ in typically self-confident mood‚ threw a grenade into the Zesco United camp when he warned them they would be punished if they tried to park the bus and then open up.

Sundowns play the Zambians in the second-leg semifinal of the CAF Champions League on Saturday (7pm kickoff) at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville.

Zesco won the first leg 2-1 in Ndola a week ago courtesy of a brace from Jackson Mwanza‚ with Khama Billiat netting the all-important away goal late in the match in only the second Champions League semifinal between southern African clubs.

Zesco‚ who boast one of the deadliest attacks in the Champions League ‚ are expected to adopt a cautious approach and wait for opportunities to hit Sundowns on the counterattack.

A bold Mosimane warned that any team that tried to "park the bus" in Atteridgeville was digging its own grave.

"If you sit back against Sundowns in Pretoria, you are making a big problem [for yourself]," the coach said.

"How many teams have come here and put five players at the back? You know what’s going to happen to you, the goal is coming. And after the goal‚ what are you going to do now? You’re going to open? You see now‚ you have to change your tactics and you can receive a second goal."

Zesco will have to score in Tshwane to stand any chance of advancing to their first CAF Champions League final.

"We’re very quick on the break also, so we have enough to dismantle a parked bus — and we have enough also to play out," said the Sundowns coach.

The Brazilians warmed up for the semifinal with a 1-0 aggregate win over Chippa United to advance to the final of the MTN8 Cup.

By Saturday, the Zambians will have had seven days after their last match — the 2-1 win at the Lewy Mnawawasa Stadium in Lusaka.

"We have to go there with a winning mentally and we are going there for a win‚" Zesco midfielder Kondwani Mtonga told the Lusaka Times in Zambia.

Sundowns are seeking a second final appearance after finishing runners-up to Al Ahly of Egypt in 2001, while Zesco are playing in the semifinals for the first time. The team has scored seven goals in their five matches in the group stages‚ conceding just three.

Mosimane’s charges will be buoyed by the fact that they have scored in each of their home games in the group stages.

It would have been nine goals had it not been for the absence of Setif‚ who Sundowns beat 2-0 in Algeria before they were disqualified.

TMG Digital