Defeat to Kaizer Chiefs continues to haunt Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi weeks after the match
It happened more than a month ago but Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi is still not over the pain of losing a match to Kaizer Chiefs.
Amakhosi were expected to be handed the hiding of their lives when they arrived at Loftus late in April but after the dust had settled‚ the visitors had managed to beat the overwhelming favourites 2-1 in a DStv Premiership match that continues to haunt Mngqithi.
Sundowns were crowned Premiership champions a week ago‚ but the defeat to Chiefs continues to occupy the coach's mind as a team that had struggled all season ended their unbeaten run in the league.
Sundowns had a 21-game unbeaten run going into the match and Chiefs succeeded in ensuring that the champions did not set a new record by going the entire season undefeated.
“The loss to Chiefs is still painful to me‚” Mngqithi said during his post-match interview on SuperSport TV.
With one match remaining in the season against Cape Town City on Saturday‚ the defeat to Chiefs remains the only major blot on Sundowns’ highly impressive championship-winning campaign.
The Brazilians managed to wrap up the league title race with three matches to spare‚ and they have won 18‚ drawn 10 and to Mngqithi's chagrin‚ lost one to Chiefs.
The Sundowns coach also bemoaned the number of points they dropped in the 10 matches they drew during the season.
The high number of drawn matches denied them the opportunity to surpass their record of 71 points in a season‚ a milestone they set in the 2015/2016 season.
“There were too many draws and I am not happy with that, to be honest.
“I think we should have done better in the many matches that we ended up drawing. At times you are coming from a lead to draw a match‚ and that is never really good.
“I remember a draw against [the now relegated] Black Leopards. It was a very bad draw for me but I think the boys have done [very well] and we must give them credit.”
Sundowns beat Bloemfontein Celtic 2-0 on Wednesday to become the first team in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) era to go the entire season unbeaten away from home.
“That’s a good record but it could have been better‚ I think we could have done even better at home.
“Our boys adapted very well in a situation because most teams can’t be sitting back and absorbing pressure when it’s their home match.
“We showed quality against teams that go toe-to-toe against us‚ but we have a lot of work to do at home because most teams when they play against us in Pretoria have a totally different shape.
“One was particularly happy with winning this one against Celtic because these are the guys who took us out of the top eight competition.
“We played to a draw in the league at home‚ which I believe we could have won. But to finish it [their commitments away from home] off by winning away from home was a good thing for the club.”