Mamelodi Sundowns snatched a point against Lamontville Golden Arrows at Princess Magogo Stadium on Wednesday evening as Sipho Mbule rose to head home his first goal for the club and claim a 1-1 draw for Msandawana.
The Brazilians had to settle for a point in a game of two very different halves, Abafana Bes’thende were resolute in their attempts to win the game in the first half, however things were very different after the break. Downs came out for the second half looking like a completely different team and determined to find an equaliser and clinch maximum points, but they had to settle to get a point away.
“We played against a good opponent that fought. The second half was braver, more aggressive and I liked the personality and the performance in the second half. We can’t concede first against these teams, because they play a little bit deeper then it’s harder to break, but I am proud of the boys and I am proud of the second half performance.” Masandawana’s Head Coach Rulani Mokwena.
“All the games have been tough the entire season, when we were winning I said that the next game is what we have to win, and the next game is difficult, I still maintain that. It’s tough, we have to show up, we have to fight every single day, we have to play better in every single match and we will do that.”
Masandawana’s last three performances have been worrisome to their supporters, as the team is well-known for their high scoring goals, however the team has recorded strange draws in their last three league games. Coach Rulani took a moment to reflect on these performances and said, “Really I wish I knew, because we don’t play for draws but I am paid to find solutions. I have to find solutions as to how we can turn it around, and ofcourse on Saturday we have to win. The good thing is that we are not chasing that, so that’s good, it doesn’t suffocate us and we keep going and try to win the next match.”
“We have to now get home as quickly as possible and recover the team, show some of the possibilities which are unbelievable especially in the second half. We had about 18 shots, in the second half we had 6 big chances in total and only 1 big chance in the first half. A big improvement in the second half and a personality of the team that I liked. It’s a team that scored lots of games and they’ve given me no reason to doubt them, so we keep going. “
Coach Rulani showed admiration to his troops and also provided an update on Bafana Ba Style’s midfielder Bongani Zungu who suffered an injury to his face in the first half of the battle and had to be replaced.
“It’s a deep cut just underneath the eye, a little bit swollen. I am proud of the kids, proud of [Siyabonga] Mabena, proud of Mbule, he did very, very well when he came on. Proud of [Lebohang] Maboe also, proud of Terrence [Mashego] he fought, but we have to keep going and get better, be stronger and do the best that we can to win the matches.”
“We played [Maboe] him a little bit as an inverted full back on the right, we had a bit of an issue structurally in the first half so we had to change the tactics a bit with the subs. Proud of the team’s performance, proud of the reaction of the players and they showed that we can come back. There’s a lot of tests that we have to pass this season and one of the tests we passed today was conceding first and fighting to win the game and we really, really tried to win.”