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'We have zero tolerance for mistakes' - Mamelodi Sundowns' Mokwena cautions Onyango after red card

18:11 GMT 27/11/2021
Rulani Mokwena Mamelodi Sundowns
The former Orlando Pirates interim coach feels Masandawana lost their structure after the Ugandan star was dismissed

Mamelodi Sundowns co-head coach Rhulani Mokwena stressed that the Tshwane giants have zero tolerance for mistakes after Denis Onyango was sent off against Sekhukhune United on Saturday.

Masandawana claimed a 2-0 victory over Babina Noko in a PSL encounter which saw Neo Maema open the scoring with a fine strike in the first half, before Themba Zwane scored from the penalty spot to seal the hosts' win after the restart.

"Firstly, let's compliment Sekhukhune they've got a clear model of play, and of course, a clear model of play that is to the strength of their players," Mokwena told SuperSport TV.

"But also credit to our players for fighting hard and showing a lot of resilience to bounce back from the last two draws.

"Not easy because the personality of the opposition changes. In the first half they had a very low block and we knew we had to break it because if you don't break it, they stay with the low block and continue with neglecting possession and coming a little bit to attack the space," he continued.

"But second-half they made the double change and when Prince [Nxumalo] came in, with two strikers they pressed a little bit higher, we had to find better solutions on our build-up and once we got the momentum going, we stabilized a little bit."

Sundowns took their foot off the pedal towards the end of the game and they allowed Babina Noko to control the game which saw Masandawana finish the last five minutes playing with 10 men after goalkeeper Onyango was sent for denying Sekhukhune winger Tshidiso Patjie a clear goalscoring chance.

Mokwena was not pleased to see their club captain receive a straight red card and he made it clear that they should avoid such mistakes with the team set to compete in the Caf Champions League group stage.

"We looked a little bit better, we had more control up until the last minute where we lost a little bit of our structure because of the red card. Well, look in football these things happen, Denis will always remain Denis but what is important for him is to check and analyse," he said. 

"I always say to people there's five mistakes or six before the actual mistake that we see and at times we only focus on the final product. There was a build-up of certain elements and even in that moment, the back pass, then we get to the back pass of Grant Kekana and we got to the back pass of Mosa and even before Grant passes to Mosa, Mosa is saying, there's a striker, because they were two "don't give it to me" but then it comes he had to react a little bit because there's pressure coming to him.

"But okay good, this is the price we pay for being a side that plays from the back, a team that builds its situations from the back but we have to cut out the mistakes because we have to get to the level where we're competing for the Champions League. It's very important that we get to that level where we have zero tolerance for mistakes."