EAST LONDON – Chippa United coach Clinton Larsen has praised the efforts of his players after managing to get a point from Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw against Mamelodi Sundowns in Port Elizabeth.
The home team equalised in the dying minutes at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium through an own goal scored by Motjeka Madisha, who was trying to clear Meshack Maphangule’s shot.
After dominating the game, Sundowns should have killed off the opposition comfortably – but couldn’t do so because players like Sibusiso Vilakazi missed clear chances.
The Chilli Boys played much better football in the second half, exerted pressure on Sundowns and got the goal that will boost their confidence before the first match away against Golden Arrows next week.
After two games at home, the Port Elizabeth-based team have collected two points.
“I am most pleased about the fighting spirit in the team, and I think that is the continuation from where we left last season,” coach Larsen said afterwards.
“Even when we were a goal down, the team never stopped trying to get back into the game, and I think that is a very good attribute for the team to have.
“I am very proud of the players. I think they must get all the credit. We just gave them a structure with which to play, and the rest was up to them.
“And I think for large parts of the game, they gave as much as they got.
“There were going to be spells where Sundowns were going to dominate as they usually do in other matches, but I think we handled their movements well.
“It was a good point for us after the disappointment of dropping two points, especially after a very dominant performance against Stellenbosch.”
Even though the visitors managed to create cracks in the defence manned by the newly signed Moyo twins, with Frederic Nsambiyumva the only players from last season, Larsen thinks his boys handled the Brazilians very well.
“I think we played the first half in patches defensively. We wanted to give them the ball in their half, and they were not threatening. Their first shot on target was in the 35th minute, and they scored from it.
🚨 MAN OF THE MATCH🚨— Chippa United FC (@ChippaUnitedFC) August 14, 2019
Port Elizabeth born Gregory Damons makes his PSL debut and lands the #MOTM vs @Masandawana #bytheeasterncape #fortheeasterncape #ayeyechilliboyzayeye #prideoftheeasterncape pic.twitter.com/Uuu2WVDsCw
“To contain a Sundowns team without a shot on target or creating a clear chance means we are doing something right defensively.
“But one area we worked very hard on that disappointed me was we got numbers behind the ball when the possession was lost, but there wasn’t immediately pressure on the ball.
“We addressed that at halftime. We pushed our line high up a little bit and we were more aggressive on the press. I think in the second half, we put them under pressure,” concluded Larsen.@PedroMapelo