Highlands Park coach Owen da Gama has
defended defender Ryan Rae following his error which led to Mamelodi
Sundowns' winner in the Nedbank Cup quarterfinals on Saturday.
With the scored locked at 0-0 heading in to the final five minutes of
second-half extra time, midfielder Sello Motsepe lost the ball in
midfield allowing Hlompho Kekana to play the ball forward.
It looked like a rudimentary clearance for the experienced Rae, who
had come on as a substitute for injured captain Bevan Fransman, but he
kicked thin air as Sundowns winger Keletso Makgalwa was able to cut
inside and fire the ball in to the far corner past Highland goalkeeper
But instead of taking aim at his utility back, Da Gama said he was
feeling sorry for Rae as well as Motsepe, who both made mistakes in the
leadup to the goal.
"Ryan is really hurting. It was an unfortunate situation, I feel for him," Da Gama told SowetanLive.
"We are with him, we feel it with Sello Motsepe, who lost the ball in the midfield.
"I don't think there is any player who goes onto the field to make a
mistake. We will regroup, we will work hard and we will learn from
Da Gama said he felt his side actually had the Brazilians on the back
foot for large periods of the game and were unlucky to come away with
nothing in the end.
"I thought the boys were fantastic. From a tactical perspective, to
see a team like Sundowns park the bus was a bit strange to see," he
"For us to put a performance like this, it was very good for the boys and I'm really proud of them."
- TEAMtalk media