Mamelodi Sundowns played to a drawless goal against Cape Town City on Saturday evening in their DStv Premiership match number 10. The Brazilians were up against their closest rivals in an entertaining transitional football encounter at the Cape Town Stadium, with many anticipating the game to be a packed with goals, it was not to be so as both teams struggled to penetrate the defensive structures of their opponents. Downs Co-Coach Manqoba Mngqithi shared his thoughts on his side’s performance after the game and said that any of the two teams could have claimed victory on the day.
“Today was a very scrappy game, too many turnovers, we couldn’t control the tempo of the game consistently, we made a lot of mistakes on the ball which exposed us sometimes to very, very scary transitions. We were at times not very focused on our rest defence more especially on our set pieces and we were nearly punished from that as well, but be it as it may, it’s still a good point. For games like this we always say it’s better not to lose it because it could have turned either way, they were a very good team, they gave us a very tough match.
Coach Manqoba also expressed his view on the pressure of maintaining their latest clean sheet record in the DStv Premiership. He said, “As much as it’s nice to say that we have not conceded in as many matches, on the other side I also feel that it is now beginning to put a bit of pressure on the team. Like I said, we are a little bit edgy, more especially on the ball from build ups, we committed a few errors which could have easily resulted in us being punished.”
“Now this thing of not conceding is becoming an anxiety factor, because we are now anxious to make sure that we try and protect that space and we are not playing freely. In a game of football if you concede you you concede, but if you score more than the other team then you win the match.”
Saturday’s draw with The Citizen was the second of the season for Bafana Ba Style and with ten games played so far, the Tshwane giants have scored 17 goals in all their encounters and continue to set new records. Saturday’s game was tense and dramatic with three points vital for each club, Coach Manqoba spoke out on the importance of playing a game that has errors and scoring goals.
“This thing of clean sheets is always nice and good because it’s part of our plan and our process, but it’s always going to put a little bit of pressure on the team because when you’re playing a game of football and you’re not expected to commit any mistakes , that’s when you end up committing a little bit more mistakes. But when you play and you want to dominate and fight for everything – while knowing very well that opponents can score against you and you will score more than them, it makes the game a little bit more free.”
He added: “I’m not saying I want the team to start conceding goals, I’m just saying having not conceded a goal is slowly piling up the pressure on the team and making the team to play with a little bit more anxiety because we just want to make sure that we don’t concede and at times that will even force you to be a little bit defensive, that’s my concern at this stage regarding clean sheets. As much as it’s exciting on the one side, on the other side of it I’ve got this feeling that it’s now derailing the freedom of expression which will ultimately make us perform better and have better results.”