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Sundowns staying grounded

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Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi has has reservations about his team’s killer instinct despite their 5-1 Champions League win over CR Belouizdad.

Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi says the players lost a bit of concentration during their Caf Champions League match. Picture: Kabelo Leputu, BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi has rightfully expressed reservations about his team’s lack of killer instinct despite their historic 5-1 Champions League win over Algeria’s CR Belouizdad in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, over the weekend.

Sundowns’ winning margin is the biggest yet by a South African team in the Champions League.

The Algerians, however, suffered a massive setback three minutes into the game as their central defender Chouaib Keddad was red-carded, and Sundowns scored from the resultant penalty.

Despite being a man down, Belouizdad scored the only other goal in the first half, and the teams were level-pegging at halftime.

“I want my players to learn from this match,” said Mngqithi.

“I believe that if defender (Keddad) decided to let the ball go on, they would have remained with a good number, and they would have had a fighting chance in the game.

“We had a superior numerical advantage in the first half, and we took that to our heads.

“We did not apply ourselves fully by looking for more possession and trying to penetrate.”

Mngqithi said his support staff came to their rescue at half-time when they told the team how to set about playing in the second half.

The result was that the team scored four goals without reply.

“We worked on that aspect at half-time, and I thank all my coaches and analysts for the input they gave,” said Mngqithi.

“In the second half, we came out with more purpose and stretched their defence.

“We (the coaches) appreciate the fact that we got the big scoreline away from home, and the kind of football the players displayed on the day.”

Midfield substitute Kermit Erasmus joined the fray just past the hour mark. He went on to produce a fine cameo which he crowned with the final goal of the match.

Earlier, he had a hand in Lebohang Maboe’s goal to give Sundowns a 4-1 lead.

“It is an important win for us,” Erasmus said after the game.

“We go back home and have a little bit of a rest and then go away to Congo. So it is a good step in the right direction. We hope to continue this way.

“We created enough chances for us to score, and you can see that by the 5-1 scoreline.

“We lost a bit of concentration in the first half when we conceded a goal.”

Sundowns will be in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on Saturday when they play five-time champions TP Mazembe, who are also unbeaten after two rounds.

Mazembe fired blanks in their opening Group B matches and are second on the log with two goalless draws. Sundowns head the standings with a full house of points.

@Herman_Gibbs