June 14, 2021

Mngqithi sees more positives for Mamelodi Sundowns than negatives in Bloemfontein Celtic defeat

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The Downs joint coach felt his side were the better team in Sunday’s MTN8 defeat to Phunya Sele Sele

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi claimed not to be overly disappointed by his team’s 1-0 defeat to Bloemfontein Celtic in an MTN8 quarter-final match at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday night.

Sundowns enjoyed the better of the chances in Tshwane although Celtic fought hard to earn a gutsy win against their more illustrious opponents to end a four-year winless spell versus the Brazilians.

Mngqithi was in his first match in charge since stepping up as joint head coach (alongside Rhulani Mokwena), following the departure of Pitsoi Mosimane to Egyptian giants Al Ahly.

“In this game, there were a lot more positives than negatives,” Mngqithi told SuperSport after the game.

“We are beginning to play the way I would like us to play. The coaches have worked very hard to make sure that we’ve got the right balance and shape in the midfield. And to be honest, we looked very good, but then we got punished, so what can you say, you can’t say you played well but did not win the match.”

One issue the former Golden Arrows MTN8-winning coach had was with some careless play in midfield; on several occasions, Celtic threatened on the counter-attack after turning over possession.

“There were some scary moments when they won the ball out of nothing when we were casual on the ball, and it created moments for them,” Mngqithi explained.

But ultimately where the game was won and lost was in Sundowns’ inability to take the numerous chances which they created.

“Otherwise we played very well and it was just unfortunate we could not take the game,” Mngqithi elaborated.

“The chances were created. But unfortunately, it was off-side with [Peter] Shalulile, unfortunate with the captain’s shot (a Hlompho Kekana drive which smashed against the cross-bar).

“We created some moments that would have given us the goal. Maybe one more touch could easily have resulted in a goal on a few occasions, but at times we were nervy and anxious. Understandably when you are playing in the first match of the season.”

Mngqithi will now be hoping everything kicks into gear when his side gets their league campaign underway with next Saturday’s mouthwatering clash against Kaizer Chiefs, the side who finished runners-up to the Brazilians last season.