Pitso Mosimane explained why he and Mamelodi Sundowns’ captain Hlompho Kekana wildly celebrated Lebohang Maboe’s goal that gave the Brazilians the lead against Black Leopards at Loftus Versfeld on Wednesday.
The Brazilians eventually won that match 3-0 and moved to second place. Bafana BaStyle are now three points behind Bidvest Wits with two games in hand. Mosimane’s men had to work hard to get the three points against an attack-minded Leopards side.
“It was end to end. But it’s our theme here, we have to put our hand on the opponent’s neck until the goal comes. We will put you under stress until it breaks. We have to score, especially in the first half because if we don’t score in the first half we get frustrated. We gave everything and the goal wasn’t coming,” Mosimane said.
“But the one thing we knew is that they are a happy team, jolly, they attack like nothing. They put everybody forward. I said to the guys that there’ll be a period where they go eight against eight and we’ll have two versus two when we break from that, meaning that the two centrebacks remain and all the other players attack. They did that against Orlando Pirates, Bloemfontein Celtic, Golden Arrows and SuperSport United. They are fearless. They attack you, and that’s why they win. They’re just sit on top of you.”
“If you break down, you’re going to have a problem. I told Gaston Sirino to cheat a little bit in how he manipulated space by sitting back when they attack us and stay with Lebo upfront. I knew that we would cut one ball and play out. We used to play that long pass to Khama Billiat and Percy Tau. It’s our ball. When Hlompho made that unbelievable tackle, like a 21-year-old, all he did is his specialty. That’s why he catches goalkeepers off the line. The first thing he does is look up, you know the story. And then he played there, Gaston got it, played it to Lebo and it went in. We had been waiting for it. We knew that they would give us pound for pound, unlike other teams who sit back and wait. These ones don’t care. They come to you. So we got what we wanted, hence the celebration.”
Sundowns flew to Ivory Coast on Thursday for their next assignment in the CAF Champions League. The former African champions will take on Ases Mimosas on Tuesday in Abidjan.
“We want to finish as the number one team in our group because those numbers ones will be put on one side in the draw for the quarterfinals,” Mosimane said. “A win in Abidjan is very important for us, and we must win here against Lobi Stars so that when we go to Casablanca we don’t go there desperately needing a result.”