Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane was pleased with his side's performance as they displayed good fighting spirit to reach the last eight of the Telkom Knockout.
The Brazilians defeated Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 courtesy of Gaston Sirino's second half strike at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday evening.
“Yeah it was a high level game for me. I think this was a Caf Champions League game, with experience of playing there for many years. This was a high level football and not many teams can bypass our pressing game, we tried to press and deal with (Lantshene) Phalane and then came (Kabelo) Dlamini. It was not easy to deal with (Ronald) Pfumbidzai, they were not afraid and Steve (Komphela) plays good football,” Mosimane told SuperSport TV.
“It's good to see football played like this by local coaches, it's top level and we had to play on a break because of the stress, the pressure they put us under and they pushed to half way,” he added.
“They pushed us in front of our box and the only way to play was on a break, and put Toni (Silva) and Gaston on a break, and I told them just play, just play the ball behind,” continued the victorious coach.
“You know (Hlompho) Kekana (he plays) behind the line because that's the only way they will be vulnerable because they are playing on a halfway line...so we had to do that with speed and Gaston missed the first one and he corrected with the second one to be honest," he said.
Speaking about the lack of goals in the match, Mosimane said the encounter was meant to be decided by an odd goal.
“Yeah, it was going to be decided by one goal to be honest because of the quality. I am happy the referee is back (Daniel Bennett), we needed experience and even Gaston's goal looks like offside, it was on the edge and it could be offside, but the one in the first half, Sirino was in a offside position but Toni Silva, it was a wrong call guys,” he responded.
“Had we lost people would be saying he is complaining again, they lost or we didn't win, but I am complaining even if we win....we played well in the first half, we pushed the ball very well and we started very well. The first 15 minutes we looked like Sundowns that I always know, but it will take time,” reacted the coach.
“With the new boys and today, let's be honest it was a little bit to survive and move to the next and let's see the next team we are going to play, will they bypass our press, you know,” he added.
Mosimane continued to lavish praise on his counterpart.
“We didn't create too many chances and they can play a high level football and I'm so happy or Steve Komphela, he is a good coach and he is playing in a team where the stress is not too much,” he reflected.
“He can express the way he wants to play and everybody wrote him off, you can't keep a good man down. Yes, we need to play from the back. You can easily play a long one and flick the ball, then you win, the route one that people always do,” he continued.
“But the quality is good even when we played (Bidvest) Wits last week. They were good and they played better than us in the first half and let's be honest, the quality is good and we have to believe in local coaches,” he concluded.