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Football | Absa Premiership

Johan Neeskens © Backpagepix

It's up to the players now - Neeskens



Mamelodi Sundowns coach Johan Neeskens says it is up to his players to lift themselves off the bottom of the Premiership log, after a frustrating 1-1 draw with AmaZulu on Wednesday evening.

"The ball is now in the players' court," Neeskens said after the bottom-of-the-table league clash in Atteridgeville.

"They have to play every game now as if it is a final and only then can we come out of this situation. I don't expect beautiful football from them because, in this situation, you cannot expect that."

Neeskens said the team lacked clinical touches in their opponents' half and were lucky to come away with a point, criticising his defender for an elementary error.

"We were terrible in the final third with our passing, in our decisions that we took and also in losing the ball," Neeskens said.

"In the second half, we kept trying but there was not much improvement and then you get a childish goal."

AmaZulu had taken the lead, against the run of play, 13 minutes from time. A defensive blunder from Sundowns' Clayton Daniels allowed Andile Khumalo to slot home the opener.

"It was typical ball watching from Daniels – looking at what's going on up front and not looking around at how the (defensive) organisation is," he said.

"If you are not sharp from the first minute, then these things happen."

Wednesday's clash marked two weeks since the Pretoria side had sunk to the bottom of the table, after a 3-1 defeat to Orlando Pirates.

Sundowns were now 10 matches without a PSL victory, claiming their only league triumph on the opening day of the new season against Chippa United.

The Dutch coach, however, felt optimistic his side could regain its much-needed form to lift themselves out of the last position, ahead of the new year.

"Fortunately we got the late goal and the draw but we should not be happy with this result," Neeskens said.

"The players can do it, because they showed it four days ago (against SuperSport United in the Telkom Knockout Challenge), but today I was not happy."

In Wednesday's other results, Orlando Pirates thrashed Black Leopards 4-0 in Polokwane, Bloemfontein Celtic claimed a 1-0 away victory over Golden Arrows, while Free State Stars and the University of Pretoria played to a goalless draw in Bethlehem.

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