Sundowns coach lauds players
Johannesburg - After a dominant performance over Maritizburg United, with Mamelodi Sundowns cantering to a 2-0 Nedbank Cup quarter-final victory, coach Johan Neeskens lauded his team as they continued their charge for league and cup honours.
“The team that played attacking football from the beginning and deserved to win,” Neeskens said after his side's win in Atteridgeville on Saturday.
Katlego Mphela was the main casualty in the victory, going down with an injured hamstring in the second half.
The Bafana Bafana striker was limping in the tunnel after the game, holding an icepack to his left hamstring, but Neeskens could not add any insight into the extent of the injury.
“I don't know. He will go to see a doctor and see what has to be done," said the Dutch minder.
"[He will] have an MRI scan to see how bad his hamstring is, but we don't know yet.”
Ahead of the match, Neeskens had lamented their top-flight opposition this season for a defensive approach when they faced the league leaders, and he had few kind words for Maritzburg.
“It is always very difficult when teams come over here and have 11 players behind the ball," he said.
"To then go out and find the space and to create something is always difficult.”
Neeskens said he had expected the tactic employed by his opposite number, Ernst Middendorp, and lashed out at the visitors.
“I'm not surprised they played defensively, because they've been playing defensively the whole second half of the season," he said.
"Every team here likes to play with 11 [players] behind the ball.
“It's a cup game, and if you'd like to know why they played this way, you'd better ask the other coach.”
The Brazilians had not changed much, Neeskens insisted, after a goal drought and a string of draws.
“That is football, the players didn't do anything different.
"We work on it in practice, to create chances and to score, and one day you are lucky and the other day you are not.
“It's unfortunate we had so many draws because we gave a big advantage away [in the Premiership], but I was not unhappy with the performance of the players.
"As long as you create chances in every game there is no problem.”
Elsewhere, Free State Stars stunned Kaizer Chiefs with a 1-0 victory in Polokwane to progress to the last four of the cup competition.