Kaizer Chiefs head coach Ernst Middendorp has commended Mamelodi Sundowns for their performance on Thursday night en route to a 1-0 win at the Orlando Stadium to blow Absa Premiership title race wide open.
In the second half, Sundowns put on their defensive boots, “parking the yellow bus” at Orlando, leaving Middendorp frustrated and disappointed as Mosimane’s men clung onto their narrow lead to claim 3 crucial points, thanks to a Gaston Sirino strike in the first half.
‘The Brazilians’ moved level on points with ‘Amakhosi’ but remain in second place due to an inferior goal difference.
“We talk about long balls in soccer, I think you see the long ball on top of the defence line from Mamelodi Sundowns consistently, that’s always difficult,” said Middendorp.
“I think we allowed them 2 or 3 possibilities out of a quick transition. In the second half, of course, it was up to us to make it happen. It is difficult to work with nine players inside the box and for them to handle it [pressure] like they did, compliment at this moment to Sundowns.
“We changed the formation. Changed the set-up. Brought in players. I think in the second half it was 80-20 possession [to Chiefs]. We were consistently in their half – 1 mistake, 1 counter on the other side.”
It was Chiefs’ second defeat since the resumption of football and their fifth in the second round of the league campaign. The Soweto giants once had a 13-point lead over Sundowns but now both sides are tied on 53 points with 3 matches left to play in the PSL Bio Bubble.
“We are disappointed, the heads are down. Sometimes you go through a certain dip and knowing that certain players are not there, you have to change your set up, go a different way,” added Middendorp.
“It is new for the team, we are struggling at the moment and we will freshen up and keep the confidence, keep calm, it is still in our own hands,” concluded the Chiefs coach.
‘The Glamour Boys’ will tackle Bidvest Wits in their next league encounter while the defending champions, Sundowns will host Baroka. Both matches are on Sunday.
RELATED STORY: We are underdogs – Mosimane
By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi