Mamelodi Sundowns players warming up
Mamelodi Sundowns playmaker Neo Maema admits his disallowed goal against Petro de Luanda last weekend has spurred him on for the second leg of their CAF Champions League quarterfinal tie on Saturday.
The Brazilians squandered an early lead in the first leg to lose 2-1 to the Tricolores at the Estadio 11 de Novembro, with Maema seeing his goal in stoppage time ruled out by VAR.
The away goal, scored by Lyle Lakay after six minutes, could be crucial for Masandawana as they attempt to go one better than last season by reaching the semifinals.
Maema is relishing the chance to have another go at the 15-time Angolan champions at the FNB Stadium and acknowledges this is the most important game of Downs’ campaign.
“The disallowed goal is kind of a motivation for me going into the second leg,” he told Sowetan. “It would have been amazing if the goal stood.
“It is a goal I would have cherished for the rest of my life but it wasn’t meant to be. Now I have a chance to score in the second leg if I get to play.
“I feel like we can do it [advancing to the next phase of the Champions League]. It’s possible, especially looking at the fact that we scored away.
“Our fans will be behind us, that will also boost us. The talk among us as players is that we must score more and avoid conceding.
“This coming game is the biggest game this season for us because it’s a do-or-die, we’re not getting any second chance. It’s a cup final for us. It’s like our lives depend on it, so we’ll give it our all.”