Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane was proud of his players despite suffering a 2-1 defeat in the first leg of their CAF Champions League semi-finals against Zesco United in Ndola on Saturday.
Jackson Mwanza struck twice within 180 seconds after half time to give the Zambian champions a massive advantage, before Khama Billiat netted an 87th minute lifeline for the Brazilians.
The goal has given them massive hope ahead of the return leg in Atteridgeville next Saturday.
“I am proud of my boys, the last 30 minutes… that is Mamelodi Sundowns, they have the heart, they come back and they fight against all odds,” Mosimane said. “I am so proud of them.
“This campaign we call it against all odds. Our destiny is in our hands. We played a well-rested Zesco.
“They play one game every seven days. They are always here. They are not going anywhere. You could see how they are. We have to do what we have to do.
“It’s a one-time opportunity for us in the Champions League so we give our best.”
But Mosimane admitted they still faced a monumental task to reach the October final.
“It is a bit tricky because, yes we scored a goal away from home, but personally we didn’t get what we wanted because we didn’t want to lose,” Mosimane added. “A 2-1 defeat for me is not a good result because we lost the match.
“We have to fight at home. The challenge is we must make sure we don’t open up and get hit on the counter-attack. You have to try and keep a clean-sheet at home, and you have to score but that is not a guarantee. That is why I’m not happy with the result.”
In the other semi-final first leg, Egyptian giants Zamalek took a massive stride towards the final by thrashing Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca 4-0 in Alexandria.