Lunga, a key player for Sundowns, found himself in a precarious situation after a challenge on Devin Titus that could have warranted a second yellow card and his dismissal from the match. 

However, fate seemed to favour Sundowns as referee Jelly Chavani, who had awarded Stellenbosch a free kick, paused the game to attend to his assistant Zakhele Siwela, who was struggling with a hamstring injury.

This unexpected interruption provided Mokwena with an opportune moment to make a strategic substitution, replacing Lunga with Thapelo Morena after just 28 minutes of play.

While the incident could have potentially altered the course of the match, Mokwena’s quick decision-making and the fortuitous timing of events spared Sundowns from facing a numerical disadvantage and allowed them to maintain their momentum throughout the game.

“I think even before I go to the second incident, I thought the first yellow was a bit soft,” Mokwena said during the post-match press conference.

“When I looked at that one with Divine, I said the first one may be a bit too harsh, especially for the profile of the game… and so early. You can go into that space.

“And then of course, he puts himself on the edge when he goes in for their second situation, but it also starts because we allow the ball to be delivered in that area.

“Then it becomes a speed race. It becomes difficult. But I think some of them go your way and [others] don’t.

“There were a lot of small details that we had to pay attention to and I think we were spot on with that and yeah, I don’t know it can go that way and manage the situation.

“Maybe you have to compliment the referee for trying to manage the semifinal, leaving it 11 v 11 and maybe not causing as much controversy as we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks.

“Maybe that was the thinking of the official, I don’t know, but like I said, the first yellow card was soft.

“Then maybe when he went for the second one, that’s the one he should have gotten a yellow for. Then you are not talking about whether it should be a send-off or not.”