Coach positive despite Downs’ poor form

2012-09-27 09:26

Under-fire coach Johan Neeskens believes Mamelodi Sundowns were the better team on the night but failed to take their chances as the Brazilians continued their Premiership slump with a goalless draw against SuperSport United.

“It’s a pity that is was only one point,” Neeskens said.

“We were going for three but we faced a strong team. I look at this result positively. We can’t always talk negatively, because this was a difficult game, but I think if somebody should have won this game, it was us.

“I think our opponent had the upper hand in the first 15 minutes but after that we got a better grip of the game.”

Neeskens’ side have struggled throughout the early stages of the league season, with only four points from their first five fixtures, leaving the Brazilians languishing in 14th place in the standings, level on points with bottom feeders Amazulu.

“I think over the 90 minutes it wasn’t a high quality game but the teams were very competitive,” the Dutch coach said.

“The first 15 minutes we wanted to (play the ball) but we were a little bit too nervous, especially in keeping the ball more in our passing. The second half was the same as the first – we still had a little bit more of the upper hand.”

Having squandered three real chances to put the match to bed, Sundowns were thwarted by United shot-stopper Ronwen Williams, who shut out Edward Mnqele twice to keep SuperSport unbeaten with yet another clean sheet.

United have conceded only one goal in five league fixtures.

“We tried, we had our chances,” Neeskens said.

“I think overall we had the better chances than SuperSport and I see this as a positive. You cannot expect from a team that is in this situation that they play brilliant football.

“But the commitment from the whole team was there. They fought, they worked hard for each other and also in this game creating three 100 percent chances,” he said.

Meanwhile, Matsatsantsa boss Gavin Hunt praised Williams’ efforts, after the youngster recovered from a head injury he picked up in a goalless draw against Orlando Pirates last month.

“To be fair, Ronwen was our number one. You can see the boy is good quality,” Hunt said of his first choice keeper.

“Rowen (Fernandez) is a very good goalkeeper and is very experienced, but Ronwen did very well for us last season, so in that department we’re fine.”

While his side stretched their unbeaten run to five matches, Hunt would have preferred a win in the derby clash.

“How can you be happy with a point? I’m not saying that we didn’t deserve it. They (Sundowns) had a few chances, we had a few chances,” he said.

“The pitch was very greasy and slippery and it was difficult to control the ball, so it was a poor game from that perspective.”

Elsewhere last night, Amazulu caused an upset as they beat newly-crowned MTN8 champions Moroka Swallows 2-1 in Umlazi, unbeaten Free State Stars settled for a 1-1 draw against Golden Arrows in Phuthaditjhaba, and newly promoted Chippa United defeated Bloemfontein Celtic 2-1 at Athlone Stadium to earn their first Premiership victory.

The league continues this weekend with a full round of top-flight fixtures.

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