THANDA Royal Zulu coach Mlungisi Ngubane refused to be downbeat after his side failed to find a goal in yesterday’s goalless first-leg promotion play-off against Bay United in Richards Bay.
The Amabhubesi wasted a string of chances throughout the 90 minutes and missed the chance to fully capitalise on home advantage ahead of the return leg of the semi-final in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
“I’m not disappointed at all with this result,” Ngubane said. “I think I always felt that if we don’t score then they mustn’t score as well.
“We played very well in my opinion and we controlled the game. We were all over them and the difference was just that we didn’t score.
“We didn’t want to risk too much by throwing players forward, so I think 0-0 was okay.”
Siyabopnga Pela was the main culprit for failing to convert chances, while Sandile Gumede Christopher Manoka and Kanika Matondo also spurned opportunities, but Ngubane was not critical towards anyone.
He instead lay some of the blame on the slippery conditions at the Richards Bay Sports Stadium, a consequence of sporadic rain around the city.
He continued: “I think the slippery conditions did hamper Pela.
“It was wet and that prevented him from controlling the ball like he usually would, especially for those two chances he had.”
Looking ahead to the second leg, he added: “All we need to do now is score. We’re in a position that if we go away and get a goal, it’s going to count as double.
“So a 1-1 draw away and we’re through. I think we did very well even though we didn’t plan it this way to play to a draw. At the end we said that if we don’t take our chances, then we shouldn’t allow them to take theirs.
“I think I would have been upset if we allowed them a goal at the end after controlling most of the game Then I would I have been disappointed, but now I am happy.”
Opposite number David Bright was equally satisfied, but conceded their recent goal drought was becoming a concern.
Umlilo failed to score over two legs against Jomo Cosmos recently and the United boss said: “There is a little bit of concern because the goals are not coming. We’ve played three games now without any goals.
“It’s something we have to work on, yes. We’re always working hard to score, it’s just that the luck is not with us in that respect at the moment.”
He also felt that despite Thanda’s domination, they never really looked like scoring.
He added: “I’m experienced in these play-offs and I enjoy them a lot. I think we played quite well.
“Thanda didn’t have a lot of chances or clear cut chances I should say.
“They had the ball in our half of the field, but their crosses were easily cut off by my goalkeeper and centre backs, who were very good in the air.”-PSL