Sundowns struggle against Gallants in MNT8 warm-up

Sundowns struggle against Gallants in MNT8 warm-up

Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Marumo Gallants at Loftus Versfeld Stadium propelled Mamelodi Sundowns to the top of the DStv Premiership standings.

The final score could have been different had Sundowns not been denied two apparent penalties and Gallants not had a late goal disallowed. The disallowed goal resulted in a contentious conclusion to the game, and the referee was removed off the field by security personnel.

Fearing a fine, Sundowns assistant coach Rulani Mokwena refrained from criticizing the match referees.

Mokwena stated afterwards, “I never comment on the officiating, but if those two were not penalties, I don’t know what is.”

“I prefer not to discuss the penalties. I do not wish to be summoned before the disciplinary committee. I do not earn enough money to also pay fines.

“It was extremely important for us to win today because we haven’t been on the league schedule when everyone else has been playing, so there hasn’t been much space between us and the other teams.

“Winning is not the main objective for Sundowns. There are also performance requirements that must be completed in order to earn victory.

“The performance is constantly monitored to ensure that it is powerful and good. Today, particularly in the first half, we generated a great deal more scoring opportunities, giving us a great deal of room for improvement.

“We won a large number of balls close to the box, but we should have been more aggressive and decisive with better decision-making near the box.

“The second half was not as good, and it does not leave a positive impression. This can be ascribed to a variety of things.”

Mokwena was relieved to have squeaked out a victory despite having the majority of possession. He commended coach Dan ‘Dance’ Malesela for maintaining his team’s motivation till the final whistle.

“Dan Dance’s squads are similar to this,” Mokwena stated. They constantly fight to the bitter end. We consistently had the impression that the game was not done. We required a second and possibly a third goal.”

Coach Malesela of the dejected Gallants did not react to the disallowed goal, but his facial expression revealed his anger.

“I’m not going to whine about other matters. I entrust them to God, declared Malesela.

“We must redeem ourselves against our next opponent; we need the points desperately.” We need the points desperately.”

Sundowns will face Orlando Pirates in the second leg of the MTN8 semi-final on Saturday.

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