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How Pitso Mosimane got his substitutions spot on in the win over Highlands Park

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane. File photo.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane. File photo.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi

Pitso Mosimane has revealed that a positional switch of two of his substitutes, Nicholus Lukhubeni and Keletso Makgalwa, led to the latter being in the right place at the right time to score Mamelodi Sundowns’ winner in their 1-0 Nedbank Cup quarterfinal win over Highlands Park.

It was a slip and miss of a cross-field pass near the end of extra time from Highlands substitute Ryan Rae, on at centreback for limping Bevan Fransman in the second half, that allowed Makgalwa in behind him.

Downs’ little emerging forward then cut in and produced a fine 115th-minute finish past Park goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini.

Makgalwa had replaced Jose Ali Meza in the 79th minute.

Lukhubeni, normally a right-back or midfielder, came on for Sibusiso Vilakazi as the deadlocked game headed into extra time and was placed at centre-forward by Mosimane.

Soon Sundowns’ coach decided to reverse the two subs, and Makgalwa ended up in the right place to collect from Rae’s mistake.

“At Sundowns you play anywhere. He [Lukhubeni] might play right-back — you never know,” Mosimane said of initially pushing the player up front.

“Ja, I played him as a striker, a No 9, and I saw he got a one-on-one earlier and he lost so much speed, and then he decided to pass.

“And I said, ‘No, come to the right, let Kgeletso go to No 9’.

Sometimes you follow your instincts and you look like a genius, but sometimes it backfires.”

Mosimane said 23-year-old Makgalwa, enjoying increasing game time this season after a loan to Maritzburg United last campaign, scores the type of dazzling goal he did against Highlands in training sessions.

It was Makgalwa’s second strike of the season, his first coming in Downs’ 3-1 home league win against Stellenbosch FC in December.

“There’s one thing I know about Keletso — you can’t let him have a sight at goals and you don’t close him down,” Mosimane said.

“He’s got a finish. The ball he got there is the same one he got against Stellenbosch, and he scored there too.

“I thought he should pass on the far side because Nico [Lukhubeni] was free. He decided to finish and he got a beautiful goal. But he scores these goals at training.”

Second-placed Sundowns meet third-placed Orlando Pirates in a big Absa Premiership matchup at Loftus Versfeld on Tuesday night.

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