Neeskens remains confident in flailing Downs
Under-pressure Mamelodi Sundowns coach Johan Neeskens insists he is unconcerned by his side’s league position after the Brazilians went down 3-1 to Orlando Pirates at Loftus Versfeld.
The big-spending former champions are now rooted to the bottom of the Premiership table, after Amazulu’s 1-0 win over the University of Pretoria in a simultaneous clash last night lifted the coastal side out of last position.
“Of course, I’m very disappointed that we lost this game against Pirates, but I can’t help that this is the situation,” Neeskens said.
“We can come out of there (last place), and I think the way we played, I’m positive that we are going to come out of there.
“We cannot make these sorts of naive mistakes, but the way I saw the players play, I’m not concerned that we’ll come out of there.”
Two first-half goals from Thulasizwe Mbuyane and Takesure Chinyama, coupled with a late Sifiso Myeni strike, secured Pirates their fifth league victory of the season, lifting the Soweto side into second position in the league standings.
Neeskens admitted his side made too many mistakes and were punished by the defending league champions, who took full advantage of Downs’ sloppy defence.
“We started well, we had a good passing game, but then came that moment when we conceded the first goal,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we made some mistakes, but for the rest, we had the intention to play and we played well. It was a very easy goal that we gave away because the defending just outside the box was not good enough.
“I think overall, I also saw a lot of positives from the game in the way we started and how we played, but if you concede that easily, you make it difficult for yourself.”
Buccaneers boss Roger De Sa was pleased to pick up three points against their traditionally strong rivals, adding that Pirates were eager to regain their best form after their disappointing Telkom Knockout quarterfinal exit to Bloemfontein Celtic last week.
“Just to play Sundowns away is motivation enough for the players,” De Sa said.
“I don’t think the log position has anything to do with a Pirates-Sundowns game. It’s always going to be a difficult game and Sundowns have good players and so do Pirates.
“I was surprised to see the two training sessions since the Celtic game. The vibe was incredible, so they’ve got it in them and were ready to bounce back.”
» In yesterday’s other results, Free State Stars beat Ajax Cape Town 2-1 in Phuthaditjhaba, Platinum Stars defeated Black Leopards 1-0 to move to third in the standings, and Maritzburg United edged Celtic 2-1 to remain in the early race for the league title.
» On Tuesday, unbeaten Kaizer Chiefs thrashed Golden Arrows 3-0 to stay four points clear at the top of the table, Wits beat Moroka Swallows 2-0 in Joburg, and SuperSport claimed their eighth draw of the season with a 2-2 stalemate against Chippa United in Cape Town.