'Sluggish' Sundowns take blame for loss
Mamelodi Sundowns have themselves to blame for a costly 2-0 Absa Premiership defeat against SuperSport United on Wednesday night, Downs coach Pitso Mosimane has said.
Of course, Mosimane justifiably also did point to the extenuating circumstances leading to Downs' sluggishness of a punishing schedule going into the match at Loftus Versfeld.
The Brazilians arrived back on Monday morning from Saturday's 1-0 second-leg defeat in Egypt that saw Sundowns win their CAF Champions quarterfinal against Al Ahly 5-1 on aggregate.
"I think we let ourselves down on a soft goal there, from the corner kick [where scorer Grant Kekana was left unmarked for United's 30th-minute opener]. We knew that SuperSport could only harm us on a set piece."
"I mean, if you defend very voracious corner kicks like we had in Egypt, and then you let in a soft one, it's discouraging.
"But we have to be honest, we never pitched. We were sluggish.
"And I don't want to blame the guys who were given a chance. Because somewhere, somehow, it's like you are putting them in the deep end without a lot of game time in their legs.
"SuperSport just had the first option on the first ball, they picked up the second ball. We could see that we were sluggish.
"It's difficult because we just came back a day-and-a-half ago. And I think you know where we were coming from - we were coming from a war.
"We still have casualties, licking our wounds. And we didn't change the team because we wanted to freshen our legs. We made forced changes.
"Lebo [Maboe] has tonsils, Thapelo [Morena] has got a hamstring, Oupa [Manyisa] has a recurring ankle. [Gaston] Sirino is still injured, never mind the suspension.
"Denis Onyango, I think you saw the knee on his back in the first half [against Al Ahly]. And the guys [who came in], to be honest, struggled to raise it up.
"But we put ourselves in this position. So we can't make excuses of a heavy load."
The schedule has not become any easier for Sundowns. They travelled to Limpopo on Thursday for yesterday's league game against Baroka at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium. They face Chippa United on Tuesday at Loftus.