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CAF Champions League

Caf Champions League: Mamelodi Sundowns' Mngqithi unhappy with wasted chances despite win vs Al Merrikh

8:41 AM WAT 03/04/2022
Manqoba Mngqithi & Rhulani Mokwena, Mamelodi Sundowns, February 2021
The tactician believes the Brazilians struggled to give their best but rectified it in the second half against the Sudanese side

Mamelodi Sundowns co-head coach Manqoba Mngqithi was not impressed with his team, especially in the first half, despite claiming a 3-0 win over Al Merrikh on Saturday in a Group A Caf Champions League match.

George 'Mido' Maluleka and Bradley Ralani scored to hand Masandawana a two-goal lead against the Sudanese side before Kermit Erasmus came off the bench to seal the victory for the Tshwane giants, who recorded their fifth win from six Group A games.

However, the technical bench was not impressed with wasted opportunities, especially in the first 45 minutes.

"First half, I was not very happy, I don’t want to lie, we had too much possession but we were not incisive enough," Mngqithi said in a post-match presser.

"We were not looking for possibilities to create more scoring opportunities, had a big fight with [Aubrey] Modiba, had a big fight with Neo [Maema], [Lesedi] Kapinga also, and Haashim [Domingo], they were playing too many back passes, even when they had found themselves in very good attacking positions.

"But they just seemed content with the number of passes they would have in the game without looking at the quality in terms of the number of chances created, shots at goals, box entries, and all that because that is very important to us.

"And when we looked at the stats at half-time, we were five kilometres below what we normally give. We were very unhappy with that because we would have loved a more incisive performance, with a lot of shots at goals, a mentality to win the game, and also a mentality to play proper attacking football when needs be.

"Because there was no reason and no need for us to start concentrating on the possession when the scoreline was still 1-0 because anything could have happened."

However, it changed for Masandawana after the break, and they scored two more goals which gave them a comfortable win. The victory also ensured they finished the group with 16 points, a Champions League record.

"The second half was much better, more incisive, more willingness to break the lines, more willingness to look for the ball behind the defence, instead of always looking for at feet. And that was encouraging," Mngqithi continued.

"In some instances, we were over-anxious, there were many attacks where we did very well from build-up to the consolidation phase, but when we got into the attacking third, we lost possession too easily.

"Because maybe one touch, at times we are rushing too much, but it was a much better second-half performance. No wonder we managed to score the goal."

Currently, reigning champions Al Ahly are second with seven points and on Sunday they will host Al-Hilal Omdurman, needing just a draw to confirm their place in the last eight.