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Mamelodi Sundowns coach Mokwena fumes at 'below-par' performance against Kaizer Chiefs

3:04 PM SGT 22/1/23
Rhulani Mokwena, Mamelodi Sundowns
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rhulani Mokwena has expressed his disappointment following what he described as an ‘open game’ against Kaizer Chiefs.
  • Mokwena not happy with Sundowns performance
  • The tactician bemoaned how ‘open’ his team was
  • Sundowns were let off the hook by Chiefs’ poor finishing

WHAT HAPPENED? Sundowns beat Chiefs 1-0 to make it 12 straight league win while opening up a 17-point lead at the top of the table.

Neo Maema hammered home the lone goal after being put through by Peter Shalulile 20 minutes into the game but Sundowns withstood great pressure from Chiefs to claim the victory.

Mokwena’s charges were constantly caught trying to play out from the back, while they also employed a high defensive line, with only poor finishing letting Amakhosi down.

Having seen his side survive the onslaught to maintain their great run, Mokwena slammed his players for handing the initiative to their rivals from the onset and even failing to correct their mistakes after his halftime pep talk.

WHAT DID HE SAY? “I did not like the match. It’s too open,” Mokwena told SuperSport TV after the match.

“That I will speak to the players about. I spoke to them at halftime about it and I will speak to them about it, but it’s 90 minutes that I don’t like.

“We beat Kaizer Chiefs and that is a positive. I’m not complaining about the quality of the players, I’m not complaining about the win. Congratulations to the team, we worked very hard but it’s not a 90 minutes that I think we should be repeating.

“The performance has a lot of good things especially when we play very simple. We pass and move the ball, get into the right positions a little bit quick enough before the opposition arrives but when it lacks the simplicity.”

“It becomes too open and I don’t like when the game its open, I like a little bit of control.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: It was a much-improved performance from Chiefs who had been given little chance of getting a positive result from Saturday’s encounter and coach Arthur Zwane will feel disappointed to have walked away empty-handed.

Sundowns, who have been untouchable this season, struggled with the rhythm of the game, especially in the first half, but then upped the ante after the break, only to miss the chances they created.

However, it was in defence where they looked vulnerable as both Mothobi Mvala and Grant Kekana came out second best whenever the Chiefs forwards pressed them while goalkeeper Ronwen Williams’ attempts to play out from the back nearly proved costly twice.

WHAT’S NEXT? Sundowns are away to TS Galaxy on Tuesday when they will seek to further extend their lead.