CAF Champions League: Mokwena reacts to VAR drama after Mamelodi Sundowns gritty victory over Yanga

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CAF Champions League: Mokwena reacts to VAR drama after Mamelodi Sundowns gritty victory over Yanga

Festus Chuma 12:43 - 06.04.2024

Yanga's disallowed goal by VAR sparked controversy in Sundowns' Champions League quarterfinal win.

Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena has extolled his team's spirit and resilience following a nerve-wracking penalty shootout victory over Tanzanian giants Young Africans in the CAF Champions League quarterfinals. 

The match, fraught with controversy due to a disallowed goal by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR), ended goalless in regulation time, pushing both teams to a tense penalty decider.

The spotlight fell on the VAR system in the second half when Young Africans' Stephane Aziz Ki's shot was adjudged not to have crossed the goal line, a decision that left Young Africans' coach Gamondi vehemently criticizing Mauritian referee Dahane Beida. 

Gamondi accused the officiating team of robbing his side of a "legitimate scoring opportunity," sparking debates among football fans and pundits alike.

Addressing the controversy, Mokwena offered a measured perspective, acknowledging the contentious nature of the decision while also emphasizing sportsmanship and respect for the opposition. 

“It's VAR, but I hear him, of course, when you lose you see some of the situations but ok let’s congratulate them for being worthy opponents and for the good run in the Champions League after their good run in the Confederation Cup,” Mokwena commented to SABC Sport post-match.

Mokwena did not dwell on the controversy, instead choosing to praise both teams' efforts in the tournament. 

The gaffer highlighted Young Africans' quality and extended his best wishes for their domestic campaign. 

Moreover, the Sundowns' coach took the opportunity to laud his club's supporters, technical team, and players for their dedication and performance, especially considering the demanding schedule they faced leading up to the quarterfinal match.

“In a very difficult week, we managed to win two important games. We beat Richards Bay and we beat Yanga here in the quarter-finals to put ourselves in the semi-finals of the Champions League," Mokwena stated.

Mokwena's focus is now firmly set on Sundowns' upcoming DStv Premiership encounter against Cape Town Spurs at Athlone Stadium. 

The match presents an opportunity for Sundowns to extend their lead in the domestic league and Mokwena is keen on maintaining the momentum generated by their Champions League success.

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