Titleholders Mamelodi Sundowns are not going to Soweto to play for a draw in the first leg of the MTN8 semifinal against Orlando Pirates - they are going for the kill.
This was the warning shot from Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi ahead of the Brazilians' much-anticipated confrontation with the Buccaneers at Orlando Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
“We always go to a match to win it. That’s the advantage we have as a team. We put our best foot forward,” said Mngqithi.
“We will not go there and sit back and watch them play in front of us. That one I can guarantee you. It’s not what we are intending to do.
“We’re not going to Orlando to come back with a draw and hope to win it in the second leg. We’re too experienced in that space of two-legged matches and we know what is most likely to happen.
“We’ll give it our best shot. If we bring our A-game and we match the hunger, I think our quality will prevail in the end.”
Sundowns have had Pirates’ number in the past two seasons with four wins out of four.
In those meetings, Downs have completely bossed the Bucs, scoring a staggering 13 goals and conceding two goals. The Brazilians demolished the Buccaneers 4-1 twice, 1-3 and 0-3.
Mngqithi acknowledged that Pirates under new Spanish coach José Riveiro are a different proposition.
“To be honest, there is a lot of positive work that has been done at Pirates. We can never take that for granted. But, the statistics still say they are still a transitional team.
“They’re a team that does better when they don’t have much of the ball. But they will be playing at home in front of their supporters and they are expected to take control of the game.
“It will not look nice and it might be embarrassing for them not to have the ball at home,” added Mngqithi.
Pirates have been solid in defence, having conceded just three goals in eight matches in official fixtures.
Riveiro said his team knew what was coming against Sundowns.
“We’ll try to show our identity and defend when we need to defend and attack when we have an opportunity.
“It’s going to be a game about solidarity, concentration and commitment, and we always use all those words as coaches to describe our team spirit.”