Thunderbirds hit the top with fine showing at Oval

Thunderbirds  have replaced City Lads at the summit of the Sasol League standings after they trampled the PE-based outfit 4-2 over the weekend at the Oval stadium.

MISSING IN ACTION: SA national U20 and Thunderbirds striker Zimasa Dekeda seen here in camp was a notable absentee when the side triumphed against PE’s City Lads at the Oval Stadium Picture: SUPPLIED

Although obviously happy with the win, Thunderbirds coach Thembalethu Apleni said his side was undecided on how they would approach the game against the ball playing Lads side and that made his charges vulnerable at first.

“The game was very hard, but we went there to defend our unbeaten run and to steal the points. We only scored in the last half of the game because they took a 2-1 lead in the first half.

“Then we decided to fight for a draw because my players have strong character they managed to find themselves after the break. After we had a chat to them in the change-room during the break they went into the field in high spirits.”

Apleni said his side went into this game limping as their key players were away on national duty and he had to improvise and play much younger players.

“Our key striker Zimasa Dekeda was in the U20 national team and I have young players and even now the team’s performance might be affected by the examinations.

“And I think the way we approached that game could have cost us but I’m glad we managed to pull through because my players were tense at first but they eventually loosened up. After that talk my players realised they were more than capable of scoring goals as they have been doing through the season.”

Lads coach Moses Ndlela said their opposition was the better side for the day and he gave credit to the winners.

“They well played and they were the better team on the pitch and I won’t take that away from them. When we going into such a game we always prepare thoroughly but it wasn’t meant to be.

“Our defence was poor on the day, we didn’t defend as a team and our finishing was on point because we had opportunities but we couldn’t score even though we were getting close to scoring.”

He said Thunderbirds managed their opportunities very well unlike his. “I don’t want to seem like I’m making excuses they played well but we can improve and we have no other choice but to correct our mistakes going into the next game.”

Results were: City Lads 2 Thunderbirds 4, Golden City 0 Executive Ladies 12, Eastern Rangers 1 Red Roses 9, Amanqilo 2 Mthatha City 1.

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