Mamelodi Sundowns registered their first defeat in this year’s instalment of the CAF Champions League after a 1-0 loss against TP Mazembe on Saturday afternoon at Stade TP Mazembe.

The breakthrough that sealed the victory for The Ravens came in the second half, after both sides fought hard to find the back of the net in the first half. Masandawana tried to make things happen throughout the match with the many chances they created, but they could not capitalise on their possession and stun the host team. Coach Rulani Mokwena congratulated the hosts for winning what was a thrilling encounter between two good sides.

“Congratulations to TP Mazembe on the win. Of course, we are not happy to lose the match, especially when you consider the number of chances we created. We had clear cut chances. I remember we hit the crossbar upright three times. There was a very good save in the second half where Peter Shalulile had a one on one with the goalkeeper who made a save with his feet. The type of goal that we conceded is a little bit difficult to stomach but of course what matters at the end of the day are the results. With a lot of grace and humility we accept defeat and congratulate our opponents for winning,” he said.

When asked whether the results surprised him, coach Rulani stated that in football, there are no results that are surprising and the opponents played exactly how he expected them to play. He stated: “I spoke in the preview about TP Mazembe. The same organisational forms with Cheick Fofana on the side and Joel Beya upfront with the second ball crosses in the box were not surprising for us but we lost.”

“In football, you can win, lose or draw, so no result surprises me because when you start the match you either win, lose or draw. Today we lost the game even though I think the team with better chances lost the match. I still need to watch the game, that’s why I can’t say we were the better team but I know we had so many chances and we should have scored,” he continued.

Despite the defeat and the many opportunities missed to score goals, Coach Rulani expressed his pride for his charges and how good of a game they had.

“I love my players. They have already proved that they are the best in the African continent and when they lose, we lose together and the responsibility also lies on the shoulders of the coach. The players gave everything that they had and I’m proud of them. If there is anyone to be blamed for their defeat is me. I have no doubts on my players and hands off,” he concluded.

How we lined up: Williams, Mokoena, Lebusa, B. Onyango, Allende, Mashego, Zwane ©, Ribeiro, Mudau, Morena, Shalulile.

Subs: D. Onyango, Nku, Sirino, Kekana, Mkhulise, Mbule, Seabi, Maema, Maboe.