Manqoba hails impact of Downs' subs

MTN8 2021

Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi was pleased with the how second-half substitutes affected the game in their win over Golden Arrows.

Goals by Peter Shalulile, Divine Lunga and a late stunner by Neo Maema gave Sundowns a commanding 4-1 victory on aggregate in the MTN8 Semi-final.

The Sundowns tactician felt the introduction of Sphelele Mkhulise was vital and also praised Meama after his impressive goal.

"One should give credit to the boys because I think they stuck to our tactical agreements because the most dangerous players for Arrows, who create goalscoring opportunities are their centre-backs," Mngqithi told SuperSport TV.

"So we put a lot of pressure on their centre-backs to make it difficult to have accuracy, [Thabani] Zuke has got a very good range of passing, [Nkosinathi] Sibisi has got a very good range of passing and the moment they could not play from the back.

"Because from the back, immediately they go to their left-back and they are one team in the league that is averaging 15 crosses per match. So we had to analyse and diagnose where exactly are those situations coming from.

"We dealt with them very well, unfortunate that out of those high presses we did not score a goal, up until the dying stages where we got a very good goal from Neo Maema. But generally, I think the boys adapted well to the approach, they stuck to the tactical plan and one is proud of having the boys like these.

"And like you're saying, we had changed the team a lot. I believe in the second-half we allowed it to be a little bit scrappy but immediately when [Sphelele] Mkhulise came in, we regained the stability and played with a little bit more composure because it was a rush-rush," he went on.

"When you're playing a lot of long balls against Arrows and opening yourself up for a lot of counter-attacks then the game becomes interesting for them. But the moment you have a lot of possession, they struggle with that and we dealt with that very well. I'm very happy to know that the boys could manage to score three.

"Because now we're sitting with two goals a lot and one was beginning to think it's going to be two goals again [2-2], but I'm happy. For Neo to score score the goal that he scored, against [Orlando] Pirates, in his left-foot, we expected him to bend it like that.

"Today with his left-foot he put it on the right side and when he went to his weaker foot on the opposite side he put it where we know him to put it and we're very happy to have the boys who respond the way they are responding."

Sundowns cruise to MTN8 final

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