Ernst Middendorp was hesitant to blame Cape Town Spurs 1-0 loss to Mamelodi Sundowns solely on the controversial penalty decision that decided the tie.

Lucas Ribeiro Costa netted from the spot in the 42nd minute at Athlone Stadium to condemn Spurs to their 17 loss of the season and leave them five points adrift of Richards Bay at the bottom of the standings.

Asanele Velebayi was adjudged to have brought down Peter Shalulile as he raced on goal but replays suggested the tackle was made just outside the area.

It is the second time in recent weeks that the Brazilians have benefited from a tight call after a seeimgly good goal for Young Africans in the CAF Champions League quarter-final second leg was ruled out by the officials, who believed that Stephane Aziz Ki’s second-half thunderbolt had not crossed the line when cannoning down off the crossbar.

Reflecting on the game, a diplomatic Middendorp was reported by FARPost to have said: “I think the result of course is probably what everybody expected, let’s take it from their side. We thought to ourselves to provide a surprise and thinking about the different structure we put in place comparing to our last games.

“It was differently necessary knowing that you playing against Sundowns not a mediocre team and probably the future champions of the Champions League in Africa.

“But of course, it’s always something if this game is decided by a penalty. I don’t know whether it was inside or outside because I haven’t seen it [reviewed it]. But I only know that the linesman was not really convinced about the referee’s decision. I also heard the fourth referee saying that he was obviously convinced it was outside.”

Middendorp added: “Anyway, we had opportunities to score and make it happen, but that’s part of the game. The results is not really what we were expecting.”