Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi believes there were a lot of positives from their 1-0 defeat by Bloemfontein Celtic in the MTN8 quarter-final on Sunday.
The Brazilians failed to secure their place in the semi-finals of the competition after Victor Letsoalo fired Celtic into the next round.
Mngqithi was pleased with his side’s performance but rued their missed chances.
‘When you drag it a little bit longer without scoring a goal, you dominate and create opportunities but you don’t get clear chances. Even if you get those chances, you don’t take them, normally in football you get punished,’ Mngqithi said on SuperSport after the match.
‘It was just an unfortunate foul by Nyiko [Mobbie] and out of nothing, a goal was created [by Celtic] but I think in this game there were a lot of positives. I believe we’re beginning to play the way I want the team to play.
‘The coaches have worked very hard in trying to make sure that we have the right balance and the shape in midfield and, to be honest, we looked very good but when we got punished. What can you say, you can’t say you played well when you didn’t win the match.’
He continued: ‘We patiently wanted to keep the ball in midfield, create good moments, wait for the right moment to look for possibilities behind the defence, a lot of breaking the lines, which did not happen much from out eights.
‘In the second half we started to see those moments a lot, better positional sense, because when you’re playing the shape we’re playing, you expect to keep possession and not lose possession and don’t expose yourself to counter-attacks and I think that’s where we survived.
‘Because there were scary moments when they won the ball, out of nothing … when we’re casual on the ball, it creates moments for them but otherwise I believe we played very well, it was just unfortunate that we could not take the game.
‘The chances we created, unfortunately with the offside of [Peter] Shalulile, we created some moments which could give us some goal, Gason [Sirino] had [a chance], “Mshishi” [Themba Zwane] also had a chance on the far side, we had some very interesting moments, maybe one more touch could have resulted in a goal in some instances.
‘But at times we were nervy, anxious, understandably when you’re playing the first match of the season but I was impressed, there were a lot of positives in my opinion,’ he concluded.
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