'Wits' Errors, Tactics Played Into Sundowns' Hands'
A former Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits defender feels it was more than The Clever Boys' two mistakes that let them down during Saturday's Absa Premiership clash at Loftus Versfeld.
The Brazilians maintained their march towards the top-flight title as strikes from Themba Zwane and Sibusiso Vilakazi earned a 2-0 victory over the outgoing champions.
For both goals, Wits had been guilty of mistakes by surrendering possession to Percy Tau, the PSL's in-form striker, who on both occasions broke on the counter-attack before sliding in his team-mates to finish.
However, former Bafana Bafana defender Matthew Booth, who enjoyed two successful spells with Sundowns between 1998-2002 and 2009-2011, before retiring from professional football after one season with Wits in 2013/14, tells the Siya Crew that he felt Students coach Gavin Hunt's tactical changes after the break further hampered his side's chances of getting a positive result from the game.
"Very disjointed second-half for Wits. I think when Granwald Scott slotted into the back three and [Eleazar] Rodgers came on, who hasn't had much game time, you knew they were going to be disjointed. There was nothing fluid about their attack," says Booth.
"On the flip side for Sundowns, when Vilakazi went off and [Thapelo] Morena came on, and even when Oupa Manyisa came on for [Gaston] Sirino - slightly more defensive players - but even so their attack looked threatening.
"And I think it was the difference between the two sides today."
Booth, who lifted back-to-back Absa Premiership titles with the Tshwane giants in 1999 and 2000, added: "Being 2-0 up, Sundowns were able to sit back in a defensive block, and they soaked up a lot of pressure, they didn't allow Wits to get on the front foot attacking-wise, to let them in the game, and of course once they turned over the ball, they broke very confidently and were able to retain the ball and counter attack quite effectively.
"Once or twice they could have made it three or four [goals] if it weren't for some desperate defence work from [Edwin] Gyimah."