We were more clinical than Sundowns – Middendorp

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At the end of the game on Sunday, as Kaizer Chiefs registered a 2-0 win away to defending Absa Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, the stats were resoundingly in favour of the hosts.

But it’s the three points that matter most as Chiefs, with only eight shots compared to Sundowns’ 25, four shots on target compared to the opponent’s 11 managed to score two goals.

As the team which was chasing the game, the Brazilians’ ball possession domination (62%-38%) was to be expected and Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp says the difference was that they were clinical inside the box.

Middendorp’s football is not good to the eye but 22 points from a possible 27, seven wins, most number of goals with 14 and joint best defensive record with five goals.

These stats are difficult to argue against especially for a team that’s building confidence and winning culture following a disastrous 2018/2019 season. The German-born coach says what’s critical this season was to work on having a confident player.

The build-up to this game was tense, Chiefs opted to stay away from the media attention and allow Sundowns to have the spotlight.

Sundowns coach as expected was ranting about how Chiefs was allegedly benefitting from match officials’ mistakes leading to this game and how his team is better than the current log leaders.

As the first team to hand Sundowns a loss in the league this season, Middendorp was still modest about this victory.

Middendorp has also promised to unleash the combination of Samir Nurkovic who scored the brace and got the man of the match award, Leonardo Castro and Khama Billiat this season.

It was for the first time he started the game with this combination this season and it was not easy as the 3-4-3 formation they started with was really tested and exposed their defense.

A point that Middendorp acknowledged as he went on to introduce Dumisani Zuma who provided an assist for the second goal.

One of the exceptional players in the Chiefs team yesterday was the South African U20 international Njabulo Blom, this was only his second start at the elite level for Amakhosi and he produced a five-star performance. Credit should go to Middendorp for putting trust in the youngsters.

After eight matches in all competitions in the PSL, Nurkovic is now sitting on four goals with an assist. The Serbian’s work rate is immense and Middendorp says this is starting to rub-off on his teammates.

Chiefs are now five points clear at the top, Sundowns have a game in hand and Bidvest Wits have three but they are seven points behind. Amakhosi have only played nine games so far and Middendorp says with 21 games still to go, it’s still too early to talk about running away with the league. – Report by Velile Mnyandu