Johannesburg – Mamelodi Sundowns will work on the mistakes they made on Saturday night, according to coach Johan Neeskens, and will come back harder against Moroka Swallows in the second leg of their MTN8 semifinal.
Downs fought back to equalise twice in the second half, and Edward Manqele scored a stunning strike with five minutes left to secure a 3-3 draw against an attacking Swallows outfit in Atteridgeville.
“We scored three goals, so I'm happy,” Neeskens said.
“We could have scored five or six but it was a beautiful cup game to watch.
“Hopefully the people enjoyed the game, but it's not over, and hopefully we can take our opportunities in the next game.
“We'll take lessons from this and we'll have to be 100 percent confident for the second game.”
The Birds netted twice within the first eight minutes to put the Brazilians on the back foot, and Neeskens was disappointed with his team's performance in the first half.
“We started badly and gave away two goals too early,” Neeskens said.
“We were not sharp enough but we came back and showed character, and I think we were the much better team in the second half.”
Swallows coach Zeca Marques, who replaced Bafana Bafana mentor Gordon Igesund at the start of the new season, was pleased with his side's showing.
Marques was visibly overjoyed, celebrating wildly when Bennett Chenene scored a superb goal, curling the ball past Sundowns goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands to give the visitors a 3-2 lead with 15 minutes left in the match.
The Birds had gone down 3-1 against Platinum Stars in a shock defeat in their Premiership campaign opener the previous week.
“I thought the team showed character and we bounced back strongly,” Marques said.
“I'm absolutely delighted with the overall performance.”
Lerato Chabangu, the Man of the Match, was in top form for Swallows, saving a goal off the line early on and creating the second goal for the Birds from a corner kick in the eighth minute.
“We knew it was never going to be easy and we had to keep focused,” Chabangu said.
“We knew they were going to come out hard at us from the start in front of their fans and we had to push forward.”
Swallows will host Sundowns in the return leg fixture in Dobsonville on Sunday. – Sapa