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This is how football works, Mokwena says about the Sundowns stalemate in Egypt



Co-coach Rulani Mokwena understood a performance that certainly deserved more than the one point Mamelodi Sundowns took from their Café Champions League game.

Sundowns put in a stellar performance in the first half of their second Group B game against Sudan’s EL Merreikh at Cairo’s Al Salam Stadium on Saturday. But they just couldn’t convert their chances and ended up with a draw that they could have easily won had they been clinical.

However, a point is not a bad result for Masandawana, who is at the top of their group with four points from two matches.

That’s how football works and there’s no point crying over spilled milk,” Mokwena said after the game. “It was just a shame that the (Erwin) Saavedra injury forced us to change the structure of our attack.

“That put our high press at risk, but it’s okay… (Thabiso) Kutumela came on and did his best to try and help the team. We weren’t that good in the second half, but the performance in the first half is something we can build on,” he added.

Saavedra was injured towards the end of the first half after clashing with Mohammed Mustafa of El Merreikh. Sundowns will remain in Egypt until the weekend as they face a tough game against Al Ahly on Friday, their third game of the group stage.

In Al Ahly they face their former coach Pitso Mosimane and the game will no doubt be fiercely contested. There is some animosity between the two clubs that arose after Mosimane changed allegiances.

Mokwena admitted that Sundowns could have done better, especially with the chances they created so effortlessly in the first stanza.

“I think it was a two-half game. I think in the first half we were exceptionally dominant and created a lot of chances – we had six big, big chances. They only created two chances out of our carelessness on the ball and they caught us on the counterattack.

“Whoever got Brian Onyango off the line was a big one, it came out of our situation with a set piece and a reversal of possession. Even the one at the end of the half came from a similar situation.

“But to be honest, it was a stable performance and we were in control. It didn’t look like we were in trouble for most parts.”

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