Mngqithi feels his side didn't threaten in first half despite extra man

Downs admit red card stymied Belouizdad

02 March 2021 - 08:59
By Sihle Ndebele
Sundowns assistant coach Manqoba Mngqithi during the Mamelodi Sundowns media open day at Chloorkop on November 20, 2019 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images Sundowns assistant coach Manqoba Mngqithi during the Mamelodi Sundowns media open day at Chloorkop on November 20, 2019 in Pretoria, South Africa.

Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi wasn’t shy to admit CR Belouizdad’s early red card played a big role in the Brazilians inflicting a heavy defeat on the Algerians.

Just three minutes into this CAF Champions League Group B tie that was played at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Tanzania, Belouizdad were reduced to 10 men when centre-back Chouaib Keddad was sent off for using his hand to stop Themba Zwane's goal-bound effort.

Zwane, who’d complete his brace in the second half, stepped up and converted from the spot to give the Brazilians an early lead. Peter Shalulile, Lebohang Maboe and Kermit Erasmus scored Downs’ other goals in the second stanza. Amir Sayoud netted for Belouizdad.

“One must say we were assisted by the fact that they got a red card. I would want my players to learn from this because I still believe had that defender [Keddad] decided to let the goal go in, they would have remained with a good number and be able to have a fighting chance in the game,’’ Mngqithi said.

Mngqithi also felt that the Tanzanian environment and weather favoured them, and that Belouizdad struggled to cope with the altitude.

The success in Tanzania solidified Downs’ lead at the summit of Group B. They now boast six points, four ahead of second placed TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who have also played two games.

“We wanted to put our foot forward and force them to defend because we felt we had better conditions physically and the atmosphere suited us a little bit better, considering that we are coming from high altitude and we are used to playing in the afternoon and they are not used to [it],’’ Mngqithi explained.

The 49-year-old former Golden Arrows trainer conceded that they never threatened in the first half, despite the red card advantage.

“We were numerically superior and in the first half we took that to our heads and we didn’t apply ourselves fully. We resorted to more ball possession instead of fighting to penetrate. But we worked on that aspect at half time,’’ Mngqithi added.