The come-from-behind victory in the Limpopo province on Wednesday ended a run of three consecutive league draws for the Brazilians
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi says he has no problem with Mothobi Mvala ‘taking one for the team’ in the Brazilians’ 2-1 win over the Black Leopards at the Thohoyandou Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Leopards scored the first through Ovidy Karuru a minute into the second half. Sundowns levelled on 64 minutes through Peter Shalulile before their numbers were cut to 10 men two minutes later when Mvala was sent off for a cynical foul on Lidoda Duvha striker Rodney Ramagalela.
Despite playing with a man short Downs were able to go on and secure victory when Shalulile completed his brace in added time.
Mngqithi says he had no problem with Mvala’s actions.
“The man had to do what he had to do. He took one for the team and unfortunately I could not see very well – I thought there was a little bit of cover and I was hoping that it would be a yellow but unfortunately, it was a red,” he said after the match.
“But honestly the boy helped us because Rama G (Ramagalela) is very quick and he gains space behind the defenders.”
Mngqithi actually felt that the numerical disadvantage galvanised his men and he credited Hlompho Kekana for stepping into defence to replace Mvala, himself a makeshift central defender due to a number of absentees. Veteran club captain Kekana had been used sparingly this season.
“We know he’s (Ramagalela) also very clinical in front of goals. Maybe that is where the team came back because immediately after [Mvala] went out, the substitutes and the players that were inside really gave a good account of themselves,” Mngqithi explained.
“The captain took a unilateral decision to go and play as a centre-back. He did exceptionally well and we were very impressed. I’ve always told people, there will be a time in the league when the captain comes back and is fresh.”
The win over Leopards has left Sundowns on 30 points – three points clear of both SuperSport United and Swallows FC.
SuperSport take on Swallows at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday evening while Sundowns host Chippa United at Loftus Stadium on Sunday afternoon.