DURBAN – Mamelodi Sundowns coach Steve Komphela rued his team’s missed chances following their frustrating 1-1 draw against struggling Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday night.
On paper, the game was a David vs Goliath encounter and Masandawana would have been expecting to easily claim the three points. It was a contest between the league’s worst defence and the league’s top scorers.
The in-form Themba Zwane gave Downs the lead in the 32nd minute before man of the match Kwanda Mngonyama equalized for the home side following a Dan Morgan corner in the 60th minute.
“I did think that it was going to be a difficult match. We did not have the space that we would normally have created. There was a lack of space which could have been due to fatigue but we must never make excuses. We view it as two points dropped because we are highly ambitious. It is also painful when we concede from a set-piece because we always practice defending them in training,” said Komphela.
Whilst the Team of Choice played with confidence, Sundowns were technically the better side on the night. Though Peter Shalulile’s build up play on the night was good, the Namibian was uncharacteristically poor with his finishing and was guilty of missing a sitter in the second half, which could have won the game for the defending league champions.
“Shalulile could have scored two, but the opposition were fighting. There is a lot that we need to improve on,” said Komphela.
Downs frustrations did start to show towards the end of the game. The reason why Komphela gave the post-match comments is because Manqoba Mngqithi was shown a red-card by referee Victor Gomes late in the second half for apparently showing dissent. The normally calm Mngqithi did not protest against the action and is set to be barred from the touchline for his side’s next two games.
The victory will be a welcome relief for new Maritzburg boss Ernst Middendorp. The Team of Choice will be hoping that the performance can give them a platform to move further up the standings.