CAPE TOWN – Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane added more fuel to the fire regarding what has been perceived this season as biased match officiating in favour of Kaizer Chiefs.
Amakhosi have made a blistering start to the new campaign as they look to end a four-year wait for a major trophy and they opened up a five-point gap at the top of the league standings over Sundowns following their 2-0 win over the Brazilians in Pretoria on Sunday.
While Amakhosi have been on the right side of some tight calls this season, there may also be an element of concern amongst rival clubs and their fans that the Soweto giants mean business this season as they are seemingly firing on all cylinders.
Just last week though, Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy felt his team had been short-changed by the match officials in his team's Telkom Knockout defeat to Chiefs, and there have been several other incidents, including a 2-0 win over AmaZulu in which both goals were dubious.
And following the Usuthu encounter, assistant referee Mervyn Van Wyk, reportedly a Chiefs supporter, was suspended for four weeks.
So there certainly have been some questionable match officials decisions to back up the narrative of favouritism towards the Glamour Boys.
However, when it came to Sunday's match at Loftus Versfeld, that was not necessarily the case and it seems as if Mosimane's emotions may have gotten the better of him.
The Sundowns coach believed that Samir Nurkovic's opening goal should have been ruled out, due to him being off-sides when Leonardo Castro attempted to flick Reeve Frosler's cross into the Serbian's path.
Had Castro indeed glanced the ball with his head, the goal should not have been allowed. But replays were very much inconclusive as to whether the Colombian had made contact, and there was no change in direction or spin of the ball.
Speaking just after the game when he had probably not yet had a chance to properly review the decision, Mosimane felt his side had been let down by the officials.
"The goal that they scored is off-sides. The last person to touch it is Castro," he said.
"We played under stress because they benefitted from the linesman's mistake. I'll give the benefit of the doubt if you play against AmaZulu or Golden Arrows or anybody. Against Kaizer Chiefs, there's no benefit of the doubt, because they benefit a lot.
"When they benefit from referees' mistakes…I don't know if we are back to the '80s, but all I'm saying is they are benefitting from referees' mistakes. Even if it doesn't look that much of an off-sides, when it's Kaizer Chiefs, buckle up."
The Masandawana tactician was however not dissatisfied with his side's performance at the end of a week in which there had been a major build-up to the game.
"If the tactics were not right we would not have created all the chances we did," Mosimane said. "If the tactics were not right they could easily have scored the four goals as they did at FNB (in the 4-2 Shell Helix Ultra Cup win a couple of weeks ago).
"The tactics were right, but we can play until the next day and not score. We missed chances, we missed chances, we were a little bit unlucky, or we can say they were lucky we didn't put one inside (the net) to change the game.
"We don't have to beat Kaizer Chiefs to win the league, there are 23 games (it's actually 22) left for us, it's okay, we can lose, so what.
"It's okay, we accept we lost. There's no issue, maybe we'll score five as we did against AmaZulu. Life goes on, even Man City loses, so what. Let's not make it a big issue, the boys played well, they created chances, we just didn't take the chances."
Sundowns are next in action on Sunday, with an away game in the Telkom Knockout quarterfinals scheduled against Chippa United.