Mamelodi Sundowns had no attempts on goal against Orlando Pirates on Saturday, but Manqoba Mngqithi insists there is no cause for alarm.
The five-time defending Premiership champions have 19 points after nine games, while the second-place Pirates have 14 points and a game in hand. But the Buccaneers were superior in the last third, with four shots on goal compared to none for Sundowns.
Granted, Pirates have been sturdy this season, allowing only four goals, but the Brazilians’ pricey and powerful offense was expected to break them down.
Peter Shalulile, Masandawana’s leading goal threat, did not bring his scoring boots to Orlando Stadium. Mngqithi, however, asserts that there is now no cause for alarm.
“It’s quite uncommon. I don’t want to lie. This was a close game,” the Sundowns assistant coach commented.
“If you take a look at Peter’s first opportunity, you will find..” (Shalulile). If he had allowed the ball to pass and turned to face the goalkeeper, he would have had a clear opportunity to shoot and score.
“The same thing happened to (Khuliso) Mudau, who had two players on opposite sides and no one next to him.” However, he inflated both crosses.
“It was an extremely rare occurrence for us to not have shots on target when we had so many opportunities.” In the second half, Peter had two moments.”
Mngqithi is unconcerned with their directness, maintaining that they would perform better going ahead and in the return leg in Polokwane in three weeks.
“It was a pretty good football game. We anticipate the next assignment, which I believe will determine who advances to the final,” he remarked.
“However, it is intriguing when two major clubs compete as they did. It is only regrettable when they are unable to score at the end of the game.”
Next Sunday, Sundowns will begin their continental football campaign against La Passe in the second round qualifiers of the CAF Champions League.