Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi was pleased with his side’s overall performance against a very difficult Golden Arrows team in the MTN8 semi-final second leg on Tuesday.
Goals from Peter Shalulile, Divine Lunga and Neo Maema handed Sundowns a 3-0 win over Arrows at the Lucas Moripe Stadium and a 4-1 aggregate victory in the semi-finals.
The Brazilians have now comfortably progressed to final of the competition where they are set to face either Swallows FC or Cape Town City, who will battle it out in their respective semi-final later today.
Mngqithi has since praised Arrows for their tactical display, which made them very dangerous in attack but also reserved special praise for his players for overcoming their opponents to book their place in the last two.
“One should give credit to the boys because I think they stuck to our tactical agreements because the most dangerous players for Arrows, who create goalscoring opportunities are their centre backs,” Mngqithi told SuperSport TV after the game.
“So we put a lot of pressure on their centre backs to make it difficult to have accuracy, [Thabani] Zuke has got a very good range of passing, [Nkosinathi] Sibisi has got a very good range of passing and the moment they could not play from the back.
“Because from the back, immediately they go to their left back and they are one team in the league that is averaging 15 crosses per match. So, we had to analyse and diagnose where exactly are those situations coming from.
“We dealt with them very well, unfortunate that out of those high presses we did not score a goal, up until the dying stages where we got a very good goal from Neo Maema. But, generally, I think the boys adapted well to the approach, they stuck to the tactical plan and one is proud of having the boys like these.
“And, like you’re saying, we had changed the team a lot. I believe in the second half we allowed it to be a little bit scrappy but immediately when [Sphelele] Mkhulise came in, we regained the stability and played with a little bit more composure because it was a rush-rush.
“When you’re playing a lot of long balls against Arrows and opening yourself up for a lot of counter-attacks, then the game becomes interesting for them. But the moment you have a lot of possession, they struggle with that and we dealt with that very well. I’m very happy to know that the boys could manage to score three.
“Because now we’re sitting with two goals a lot and one was beginning to think it’s going to be two goals again [2-2], but I’m happy. For Neo to score score the goal that he scored, against [Orlando] Pirates, in his left foot, we expected him to bend it like that.
“Today with his left foot he put it on the right side and when he went to his weaker foot on the opposite side, he put it where we know him to put it and we’re very happy to have the boys who respond the way they are responding.”
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