Sundowns coach Mngqithi wary about unpredictable Arrows
Downs hold the advantage with an away goal from the first leg but must win outright to go through to the final of the MTN8 tournament
Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi admits his galaxy of stars hold the advantage in the MTN8 second-leg semifinal against Lamontville Golden Arrows but cautioned that the unpredictable nature of the KwaZulu-Natal club makes them dangerous.
Sundowns hold all the aces, having scored a crucial away goal in the 1-1 draw in the first leg in Clermont and will need an outright win at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Tuesday to complete the job and advance to the final of the R8m tournament.
“We are playing against a very organised team, a team that scores goals and a team that has both their strikers on form,” said Mngqithi.
“[Knox] Mutizwa has come back and is still scoring goals and [Nduduzo] Sibiya is beginning to show his magic. I believe he is the one player who can give Arrows so much. Sometimes maybe he does not work as hard, but at the moment he is on fire and looking good.
“We will have to do our best to make sure we keep a clean sheet — that is the starting point — and probably try to score a goal or two to make sure we confirm our position in the final.
“But we know it is not going to be easy. With their transitions, they can be very dangerous and they can also destabilise your flow of the game with their counter-pressing, but we believe we have a team capable of going through. Everything favours us.”
Arrows are without a win in their past three matches as new coach Lehlohonolo Seema settles in, but they have a reputation for being unpredictable.
They drew 2-2 with TS Galaxy and AmaZulu and were held to 1-1 draw against Sekhukhune United at Ellis Park over the weekend.
Mngqithi said he is not sure which Arrows side will turn up on Tuesday given the club’s notoriety for not playing to the form an opponent expected.
“They have a lot of interesting players who are dynamic and present different scenarios and they are playing with a lot of youngsters.
“That is probably where most of their unpredictability comes from because, with youngsters, they are inconsistent, but when it comes to big games they tend to raise their game to another level.
“That makes it difficult to understand whether the team you were watching against Sekhukhune and AmaZulu would still perform the same way against Sundowns,” said Mngqithi.
“Against Sundowns, chances are they might give it a go and there is nothing to lose for them. There is less pressure on them and, even if they lose the match, they know they would have not lost anything because Sundowns is expected to win.”
This added to the problem of what to expect against Arrows “because the level of intrinsic motivation can harm us if we take it for granted”.
Sundowns warmed up for the semifinal with a clinical 2-0 win over Orlando Pirates at the weekend, while Arrows could only manage a 1-1 draw with Sekhukhune in Johannesburg before they made the short trip to Pretoria for this MTN8 encounter.