Red card wrecked chances - Steve Komphela
Free State Stars go down in 2-0 defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns
THE 20th-minute sending off of striker Dove Wome ended Saturday night's Nedbank Cup semifinal as a contest, said Free State Stars coach Steve Komphela, after his side's 2-0 defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns at Lucas Moripe Stadium.
Stars had been absorbing pressure well in the early stages, and seemed set to play a frustrating game against their hosts.
The Free Staters had beaten Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates in the previous rounds, and came into the game hopeful of another upset. But Togolese striker Wome had a rush of blood when challenged by Esrom Nyandoro on the left touchline, and stamped on the leg of the Downs midfield hard man.
Referee Jerome Damon instantly reached for his red card. After that, Stars went to pieces, conceding two goals in the next 12 minutes to Richard Henyekane and Nyasha Mushekwi.
Komphela did not contest the legitimacy of the straight red. He admitted his side had no answer to the dismissal.
"What we always do is we keep it very tight on defence and then when we get the ball we quickly put pressure on the other side," the Stars coach said. "But we couldn't do that once we were a player down. I thought we did well in the early stages."
Downs coach Johan Neeskens was disappointed his side could not kill off the game in the second half.
"We planned very effectively for the way this team (Stars) play, and I think we applied that well. I think we did very well and deserved to win the game," he said.