Mamelodi Sundowns secured a commanding 2-0 victory over Chippa United in a thrilling encounter at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Bafana Ba Style continued their dominant run in the league with an opening goal in the first half, a brilliant strike from Aubrey Modiba put Sundowns ahead in the match. With more pressure applied on the Chili Boys, the hosts netted an own goal that further extended Masandawana’s lead before heading into the break.
The Brazilians head Coach Rulani Mokwena expressed his delight with the team’s performance and shared his match analysis in a post-match interview. He lauded his players’ dedication and discipline on the field for collecting maximum points against a side that was unbeaten coming into this clash, he said:
“I thought it was a good performance. I thought we played very, very well considering so many of these possibilities. We’ve got so many games at this moment and we don’t get enough training time. There’s a lot of regen and video anslysis, and that’s why I’m also very, very proud of the players because it’s not easy to do what they are doing and today we played against a very difficult side. A team that’s unbeaten so far in the league, or was unbeaten before this game and [they had] some big results against some very, very big teams like Chiefs and Pirates. To win here it was very important for us and this is why I want to give a lot of appreciation and gratitude to this fantastic group of players.”
“We are moving in every game, we are getting closer. Once we get minutes in the legs we are getting better and you can see we played so much better today in the first half. We responded very well to the game against a difficult opponent who respond for sure and try to be a bit more aggressive. You can see with the subs immediately at half time which we anticipated because the last time they were 1-0 down at half time they made three subs. We anticipated that they could look onto the bench and we preempted it and prepared for that, which is important because we do a lot of work and that’s why I say coaching is not a talk show there’s a lot of work that goes in behind the scenes.”
The Brazilians dominated the opponents with an overall 68% possession, making 547 passes while Chippa combined 250 passes in the match. Coach Rulani highlighted their execution of the game plan, emphasizing his admiration for the players efforts and the need to maintain this level of play throughout the season.
“The championship mentality is how do you preserve the 2-0. [There’s been] teams that come here and score first and Chippa comes back. Chippa doesn’t die so we had to manage that and play very smart. My players need a lot of praise for the second half performance, [it was] top level. We don’t have to make the box entries when you’re leading 2-0, we played with a lot more control in the second half, we tried to minimize counter attacks. They’ve got the speed that they had when they introduced [Thabiso] Lebitis who is fast, [Augustine] Mulenga is also fast and Ndwandwe who is aggressive to cause problems, and therefore you have to be very careful of turnovers because you’re going to suffer counter attacks.”
Coach Rulani also dedicated this triumph to the Mamelodi Sundowns supporters who demonstrated their love and support at the stafium, he said: “They’ve always just been amazing, I remember even as the Sundowns U-19 Coach we would have the Bayhill in Cape Town and you’d have not just the Cape Town branch or the Western Cape Brown but also the Eastern Cape branch coming to support us in Cape Town for the tournaments and they’ve always done that.”
“We just want to thank them for their support, we play for them and they are the spiritual owners of of this football club. Without their energy, especially in this moment where we are a little bit struggling for legs and we are trying to manage the games, manage the training, manage rest and recovery so it becomes very, very difficult but the players respond to their energy. They give us incredible motivation and drive and we just want to thank them for loving us the way they love us and supporting us the way they support us.”