Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler believes Mamelodi Sundowns’ quality proved to be the difference as they converted the chances they created in the final third.
The Team of Choice suffered their 11th defeat of the Absa Premiership campaign after falling to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Sundowns at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Two first-half goals from Emiliano Tade and Lebohang Maboe cancelled out Fortune Makaringe’s second-half goal, which proved to be a consolation goal in the end.
‘You got to give credit where credit is due. They were very clinical up front and punished us. [It was] two counter-attacks really, and we prepared and warned the boys about that,’ Tinkler told SuperSport TV after the game.
‘They are going to penetrate through the middle of us. They got a lot of speed obviously on the transitional phase, we got to be aware of that and we got caught, and I think the big difference between them and us were the chances.
‘They were clinical. It’s not a case of we didn’t have chances, we did. The first [two] goals comes from us having a strike at goal and getting caught on the counter.
‘So there’s that disappointment. But I can’t fault the boys, they worked hard. But I think the quality was the difference, they took their chances and we didn’t.’
The former Orlando Pirates mentor went on to explain his decision-making behind bringing on Rushine de Reuck in place of Yannick Zakri after 27 minutes of play.
‘Like I said, our strategy was to try and be ultra-defensive through the middle, looking to play with four central midfielders and to try and protect that middle area, and we didn’t,’ he added.
‘So obviously at 1-0 down, we needed to make changes and now the game plan changes. I could’ve probably made a bit earlier.
‘But I don’t think that would’ve been fair on the youngster, because I think it would have hurt him, his confidence and morale. So, I had to be a little bit patient to try and help Rushine a little bit.
‘But tactically we had to change and we had to look to try and go at them. And like I said, the difference was in front of goal.’
Maritzburg United will be hoping to bounce back when they take on Bloemfontein Celtic at the Harry Gwala Stadium in the Absa Premiership on 5 April, with kick-off set for 8pm.
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