Pitso Mosimane bemoans sluggish Mamelodi Sundowns performance
Pitso Mosimane bemoaned a slow and sluggish Mamelodi Sundowns performance in their 2-2 away Caf Champions League draw at Angolan side Petro Atletico on Saturday.
Gaston Sirino gave The Brazilians the lead from the penalty spot in the first half‚ but they needed a late Motjeka Madisha header to steal a draw after some poor refereeing allowed Petro back into the contest.
Sundowns remain top of their Group C‚ but need a draw at home to nemesis Wydad Casablanca on Saturday to seal first place and potentially an easier tie in the quarterfinals.
"We tried to win‚ but I don't know if we really tried very hard to win‚” Mosimane said ruefully.
“It is the mentality‚ sometimes the players know they have already qualified [for the quarterfinals] and they don't give the right intensity to the match.
"The (prize) is to finish top of the group‚ right now we are top‚ but we are still not qualified as top until match-day six happens.
"We still have to play for the result in South Africa. I thought we wouldn't have to‚ but we will.”
Mosimane pointed to the afternoon heat in humid‚ wet conditions as a possible cause for his side’s sluggish display.
"The obstacle [to winning] was ourselves.
"Maybe they could not take the heat‚ you must never underestimate playing at 14h00 in this weather.
"It was the same for both teams‚ but the home side understands the conditions of playing at this time.
"We can play quicker‚ but today we were slow in our build-ups. It is not the way we usually are.
"The team we played was missing a lot of players‚ but I am not happy with the performance. We got a point‚ but we can do better.
"We scored two goals away‚ which is good. We have not lost a game in the group and we have never achieved so many points away.
"We have got five points out of nine away‚ it helps us to be in a good position.”
Mosimane is not quite correct on the points score‚ the five is short of the seven away points the team picked up in 2017.
He says his aim remains to repeat Sundowns’ 2016 triumph in the competition.
"Every coach wants to win the tournament‚ every coach believes they can win any match.
"It is not easy‚ there are other very strong teams in this competition‚ but you need to go as far as you can. Last year we went to the semifinals.”
If Sundowns do finish top of their pool‚ then two of their likely potential opponents would be Egyptian side Zamalek‚ who they beat in the 2016 final‚ or another Moroccan side in Raja Casablanca.