The Soweto giants staged a triple comeback over the weekend to beat Bloemfontein Celtic 5-3 in a thriller at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban to reclaim their 10-point advantage at the top of the table.
Chiefs are bidding to end a five-year trophy-less drought in 2019/20 and in a rare confession, Middendorp conceded they had a good chance of challenging for the title.
The hero for Chiefs on Saturday night was Samir Nurkovic, who landed a hat-trick in Durban.
There was also a doubly Leonardo Castro and Middendorp also conceded in another rare utterance that both have a good chance of challenging for the golden boot.
Serbian striker is now the joint-top scorer in the league with eight goals alongside Lamontville Golden Arrows’ Knox Mutizwa and Peter Shalulile of Highlands Park.
Colombian Castro has four goals, meanwhile, with both good candidates to be the top goal-scorers, according to Middendorp.
Chiefs’ win took them up to 34 points from 13 matches, while the closest challengers SuperSport United have 24 from 14 games.
Champions Mamelodi Sundowns are next in line, although they are 13 behind with two matches in hand over the leaders.
Middendorp conceded they should have beaten Celtic much more easily had it not been for some lapses of concentration in the opening half.
Middendorp also shed some light on how they changed some tactics for the second half of the game, which they entered trailing 3-2, but went on to score three unanswered goals in Durban. Middendorp said their controlled aggression was key.
Chiefs only have one match remaining in 2019. They will return to KwaZulu-Natal at the end of next week to face Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on December 22. – Report by Thahir Asmal