We lost to ourselves, bemoans Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi
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Speaking after Mamelodi Sundowns surprise defeat against Kaizer Chiefs at Loftus Versveld on Sunday, Masandawana senior coach Manqoba Mngqithi said that he felt his troops should not have lost the game.
“We could have wrapped the game earlier but we messed around. We resorted to ball possession when we could have penetrated and created good moments. They gave us opportunities. Even in the second half, we had a good opportunity to get a second goal,” said Mngqithi.
The game appeared to be going according to the script that most neutrals would have predicted as Gaston Sirino gave Sundowns the lead in the first half. and Sundowns lead deep into the second half. However, Mosa Lebusa’s 72nd-minute own goal drew matters level before Dumisani Zuma netted the winner for Chiefs in the 74th minute.
The loss was Sundowns first in the league this season after 22 games.
Mngqithi bemoaned the state of his side’s defending which led to the winning goal by Zuma.
“We slipped on the counter. We were caught with our right channel being open when our legs were going. We felt that we needed to attack with one fullback at a time. When both fullbacks attacked simultaneously, it became naïve defending. It looked like nobody could see Zuma at that time.
“I honestly don’t think that this is the team that should have taken away our unbeaten record. I don’t think they fought hard enough to make the game difficult for us. I believe we lost to ourselves,” said Mngqithi.
Despite the loss, Sundowns remain on course to win the league this season. They are in first place with 47 points from 22 games and three points ahead of nearest rivals AmaZulu despite having played two games less.
Fatigue appears to have clearly struck the Masandawana camp as a result of their hectic schedule.
They are currently without a win in their last three games in all competitions, a run unusual by their standards and which included a shock Nedbank Cup semi-final penalty shootout defeat to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila and a 0-0 draw with high-flying AmaZulu.
Sundowns will return to Loftus on Wednesday for another tough game against third place Golden Arrows.