It’s not often the case, but Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena has said the lack of killer instinct against TP Mazembe in their CAF Champions League group stage clash cost them points.
The hosts grabbed the lead and the only goal of the encounter in Lubumbashi via midfielder Glody Likonza, handing the Congolese outfit their first win after they were stunned by Pyramids a week earlier.
Sundowns had run riot by thumping FC Nouadhibou 3-0 in their group opener, but Mokwena felt they weren’t at the races on Saturday afternoon.
“Of course, we are not happy to lose the match especially if you consider the number of chances that we created. I mean we had clear cut chances, I remember we hit the cross bar upright three times. There was a very good save also in the second half with Peter Shalulile and one on one with the keeper and he made a very good save with his feet,” Mokwena said.
Mazembe were not a closed book to Sundowns, but the coach accepts they made the most of their opportunities and got the three points to keep Group A wide open in only the second round of matches.
“I spoke to you guys about TP Mazembe. The same organisational forms with Fofana [Cheick Oumar] on the side, Beya [Joël] upfront number 9, Oladapo [Augustine], Kinzumbi [Philippe] . Second balls, crosses in the box. So, I wouldn’t say we were suprised but we lost. So, congratulations to the opposition,” Mokwena added.
As frustrated as he was about returning home empty handed, Mokwena reiterated his confidence in his team – reminding all and sundry they are winners of the first ever African Football League tournament.
“I love my players; I love them even more than I loved them before the match. They’ve already proved these group of players that they are the best on the African continent and when they lose, we lose together and the responsibility lies on the shoulders of the coach. The players gave everything that they have and I’m very proud of their efforts. So, if there’s anyone to be blamed for the defeat, it’s me. So, no doubts on my players and hands off,” he concluded.
(story credit: SABC Sport)