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By Katlego Modiba

Football Journalist

Zwane hails Sundowns character after away win against Petro

"We absorbed the pressure, stayed strong and kept on going," says Zwane.

Mamelodi Sundowns captain Themba Zwane has praised his team’s character following the 2-0 win over Petro de Luanda in Saturday’s African Football League quarter-final first leg encounter.

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Sundowns weathered an early storm from the Angolan side in front of their passionate fans at the Estádio 11 de Novembro in Luanda before taking control of the match in the second half.

Ronwen Williams put on an inspired performance and kept the Brazilians in the game when he saved Gilberto’s penalty and the resultant follow-up from Guedes  late in the first half.

The 2016 CAF Champions League winners took the game by the scruff of the neck following the restart with Marcelo Allende and Thapelo Maseko getting on the scoresheet to give Sundowns the victory.

Zwane was one of seven returning Bafana Bafana players that were thrown back into the Sundowns starting line-up after missing out on the Carling Knockout penalty shoot-out defeat to TS Galaxy last Wednesday.

“They (Petro) were playing at home and they needed a goal but we also wanted a goal,” Zwane said about their resilience after the match.

“We absorbed the pressure, stayed strong and kept on going. The save from Ronza (Williams) kept us in the game and we  pushed more in the second half.

“They had three centre-backs with their fullbacks going up and we also did the same by putting more pressure and pressing upfront because we know their defenders are slow.”

Zwane and his Sundowns troops will be back at Loftus Versfeld on Tuesday for the first time this season following an installation of a new hybrid pitch at the stadium. They will play host to Petro with the winner set to qualify for the semi-final of the eight-team lucrative competition.

ALSO READ: Sundowns back to winning ways in African Football League opener

“The team showed character and for the next game, I would like our supporters to come in numbers because it feels good have them always pushing us,” he said.

“It was very important for us to win this away game. We played our normal game and created chances. We managed to get two goals and we’re happy about that as a team.”

The winner of this two-legged tie between Sundowns and Petro will either play Egyptian powerhouse Al Ahly or Tanzania’s Simba in the last four. Ahly and Simba played to 2-2 draw in Dar es Salaam last Friday.

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