“The Young Pitso, he came on, you can see he’s smooth. What a talent.” That was the high praise from Mamelodi Sundowns boss Pitso Mosimane for Sphelele Mkhulise on his late cameo in the 2-1 win over Kaizer Chiefs.
The 22-year-old Mkhulise replaced Jeremy Brockie in the 72nd minute at the FNB Stadium on Saturday, and caught his coach’s eye on the big stage against the Amakhosi.
But while the winger may not immediately be thrown into Caf Champions League action against Lobi Stars in Nigeria on Friday (6pm SA time kickoff), he did enough to warrant consideration going forward.
“We will have to bring in other players due to all the injuries. The Young Pitso, he came on, you can see he’s smooth. What a talent,” Mosimane told SuperSport after the match.
“Sometimes I say to the guys I am wasting my time not giving him the chance on the pitch. Big game like this, he plays like Kekana, young star.
“He comes from our academy, but when there is a chance to play him, we will play him.
“Big three points, now for the Champions League.”
The Brazilians’ Premiership game against Polokwane City, which was scheduled for Tuesday, has been postponed due to their trip to Nigeria.
Sundowns will open their group stage campaign against Lobi Stars at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu, Nigeria.
They will look to build on their performance against Chiefs, where Mosimane admitted that his team “stole” the three points.
WHAT. A. GAME. 👏 90 minutes of end to end football finishing off with Downs walking away with the 3 points, we keep fighting!— Mamelodi Sundowns FC (@Masandawana) January 6, 2019
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Kaizer Chiefs 1:2 Mamelodi Sundowns
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“It was the way we expected – a difficult game. We played good opponents who are credible. You could see how they go into our box with small one-twos. But we managed, at the end, to stop them from going through,” he said.
“We came back in the second half – in the first half, they were superior. Coach Middendorp, he is very awkward – he plays awkward football, to be honest. Very, very good tactician, not easy to figure him out.
Sliding into Monday like. pic.twitter.com/HMftKxvNTA— Mamelodi Sundowns FC (@Masandawana) January 7, 2019
“But at halftime, we sorted it out. We just changed a few things. But also for us, a relief was the left back coming out, as we had a problem with the two wing-backs, and it created a little stress on our wingers to track back.
“But in the midfield, Kekana unbelievable with Sugar (Tiyani Mabunda), they know how to win championships.”