Petro ‘calm as ice’ ahead of Sundowns showdown

Petro’s Brazilian forward Tiago Azulão says his Petro de Luanda teammates are ‘calm as ice’ ahead of Saturday’s Caf Champions League quarterfinal showdown against Mamelodi Sundowns.

The Angolans had their first training session at the Witwatersrand University on Thursday, focusing on keeping possession and putting pressure on the ball when they lose it.

The visitors go into the tie with a slender 2-1 lead from the first leg and need to finish off the South African champions to progress to the semi-finals. 

The 34-year-old Azulão says the collective drive from the team is to beat star-studded Sundowns to book a place in the last four of the prestigious competition.

He said the first training session went smoothly and that the team was ‘calm as ice’ and focused.

“The weather here is a little different, but it’s not too cold either; our adaptation to the pitch was good, which is very similar to what we will find [at FNB Stadium].

“We needed to adapt to the speed of the ball, so the team is very calm, very focused, and we want to play a great game here and qualify for the semi-finals,” the Brazilian told the club’s website.

He added that the mood in the camp was fantastic, with an air of confidence after matching their highly-rated opponents in the first leg last weekend.  

“The team is excited. We know the importance of this game, but we are calm knowing what we have to do to achieve this feat. It will be crucial for Petro and all of us who are part of this squad,” added Azulão.

The club’s fullback Eddie Afonso reiterated that the weather would not be a problem for them. 

“We have to play our game, come in focused and be available for what comes; we know it will be a difficult game, but the team is focused on what it has to do on the pitch to conquer,” Afonso said. 

Like Azulão, he said the group was in good spirits and prepared to fight. “I believe that we will be able to play a great game on Saturday,” said the defender.

The team enjoys a clean bill of health with Kinito and Jaredi cleared to play after minor knocks. Team doctor Jorge Pereira guaranteed there is no reason to worry about the duo.

“We had a trip, but we already had the opportunity to rest; we believe that all the athletes are in good physical condition, and there is no injury on the team. It is a good signal, and we are ready to go to the game with all the athletes,” Perreira said.

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