Teko Modise is tightly marked by Aschalew Tamene of St George at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu, BackpagePix

ATTERIDGEVILLE – It wasn’t the best of starts to their Caf Champions League title defence, but Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane will be pleased that his side did not concede against Saint George SC on Saturday evening.

Saint George, who had a decent turnout of supporters in their first-leg meeting against the Chloorkop outfit, gave a spirited performance on the pitch, snuffing out every scoring opportunity their opponents tried to create.

Sundowns could not breathe in the final third. Every scoring chance they tried to create with their slick touches upfront were intercepted.

In the heart of midfield, though, the home side controlled matters with ease, with Hlompho Kekana and Lucky Mohomi serving as an anchoring pair for them.

The visiting side were forced to play long balls into the attacking third. And when they did, they couldn’t outwit Sundowns, who were just rock solid on the night.

Sundowns enjoyed a decent amount of chances moving forward, but lacked the required creative spark to unlock their opponents in the rearguard.

The attacking trio of Sundowns, made up of the likes of Anthony Laffor, Khama Billiat and Teko Modise, struggled horribly against the Saints’ defensive third, which had produced four clean sheets in their qualifying rounds.

In the second period, Sundowns kept on pressing forward, but a lot was left to be desired as they continued to struggle in the final third.

Mosimane made two substitutions, bringing in Krahire Zakri and Percy Tau for Laffor and Sibusiso Vilakazi respectively, a pair which had an off-day on the pitch.

But Both Zakri and Tau struggled too. Before the two substitution were made, Vilakazi missed a golden opportunity just eight minutes into the second stanza, striking a powerful shot which could have given Sundowns the lead, but it went off target.

With just 10 minutes remaining, the visiting side started playing more defensively in an attempt of fending off a Sundowns side who were pressing high up in search of an opener.

That tactic worked wonders for them as the likes of Billiat, Kekana and Tau continued to struggle with ideas to infiltrate upfront.

Mosimane will do well to ensure that his side are more aggressive in the final third when they travel to Addis Ababa for the second leg meeting against their opponents as failure to do so might see them produce another draw or even worse, suffer a defeat.

Independent Media

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