Sundowns coach defends Onyango after derby horror: 'Football is a game of mistakes'

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Denis Onyango (Gallo Images)
Denis Onyango (Gallo Images)

Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokoena has defended the goalkeeping errors of veteran shot-stopper Denis Onyango after SuperSport United came from behind to salvage 2-2 draw in their midweek DStv Premiership encounter.

The Brazilians were in a comfortable 2-0 lead courtesy of goals from Neo Maema and Peter Shalulile with 40 minutes remaining on the clock in a thrilling Tshwane derby at Loftus Versfeld.

However, United fought back with intent and scored two goals in quick succession with Onyango's goalkeeping errors coming to the fore each time.

Jamie Webber's powerful shot struck Onyango by surprise and the goalkeeper's attempt at clutching onto the ball saw it rebound of his chest into the path of Gamphani Lungu, who slotted home from close range.

The second goal came through a long-range free-kick, which Onyango mistimed as Teboho Mokoena's strike bounced before hitting the back of the net. 

It was the first goals Sundowns had conceded in the league, ending a record 10-match streak without the ball crossing their goal line.

"Look, football is a game of mistakes. The good thing is you and I never played in goals. We don’t have the benefit of that experience," said Mokoena with a smirk.

"Part of being a goalkeeper is that your mistakes might be more costly than some of the other players' mistakes on the pitch.

"But the reality is Denis is Denis. He is a top goalkeeper. As they say, one swallow doesn't make a summer.

"He's got our support. We will show the corrections and analyse the game.

"I know the state of football says that when you make mistakes, you become the scapegoat. We have to refrain from that because how many other times has, he helped us?

"We've been talking about all these clean sheets and records that we’ve been setting, a lot of it had to do with Dennis, so let’s not be quick to forget."

The draw did not change Sundowns' log position as they hold on firmly to the top spot with a six-point lead over second-place Stellenbosch.

Additionally, the Brazilians also have a game in hand that could potentially stretch their lead in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Mokoena’s charges are back in action on Saturday against third-place Sekhukhune United.

Kick-off is at 15:30.

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Wed 15 Sep 21 18:00 PM (SAST)
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