Mamelodi Sundowns coach Mokwena reacts to 'unfortunate' Mailula goal against Al Hilal in Caf Champions League
- Sundowns edged Al Hilal 1-0 on Saturday
- Mailula's goal earned them three points
- But the striker had another disallowed goal
WHAT HAPPENED? The Brazilians edged Sudanese giants Al Hilal 1-0 in a Group B match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday. Mailula struck in the 25th minute to help Sundowns collect maximum points.
The 21-year-old forward was back again to beat Al Hilal goalkeeper Ali Abu Eshrein late in the game but referee Jean-Jacques Ndala ruled the goal as offside. However, replays on television suggested he was onside.
Mokwena believes the disallowed goal was genuine and could have helped Sundowns win by a wider margin.
WHAT MOSIMANE SAID: “It could have been more,” said Mokwena as per Times Live. “I think we scored a very good goal for the second one and unfortunately, it was adjudged offside but in certain moments we were very good and we played the game according to our strengths.
“We played the game well, we were comfortable and even though we had a few jitters in certain moments due to a few misplaced passes, I thought we were very good and applied ourselves very well.”
AND WHAT MORE? Mokwena, however, says the slim margin they won with does not matter and the most important thing is the three points bagged.
“First was to get the three points but the target is to move as close as possible to 10 points,” Mokwena added.
“History tells you the lowest number of points to come out of the group stages is four. We want to try to get as close as possible to ten points because that almost guarantees you a position in the knockouts.
“Three points, regardless, of the scoreline, is very important and we also managed a good clean sheet.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Sundowns are bidding for a first Champions League title since 2016. In recent years, they have been ruthlessly dominating the Premier Soccer League but found wanting in Africa.
What could be heartbreaking for Mokwena and his men is how they have been relentless in the Champions League group stage, often qualifying for the knockouts with games to spare but then failing to reach the final.
STORY IN TWO PICTURES:
WHAT NEXT FOR SUNDOWNS? The Brazilians have briefly shifted focus from domestic assignments and continue with Champions League responsibilities.
They now travel to Cameroon for Friday'a date with Cotonsport Garoua in what is their second Group B match.