Following their 1-1 draw against SuperSport United, Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp believes it was an excellent game at FNB Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Soweto giants could not secure their third Premier Soccer League (PSL) win as Samir Nurkovic netted his first goal in the black and gold shirt.
In addition, his counterpart Kaitano Tembo also shared his thoughts, stating they could have done better in the opening half where they were second to every ball.
“I think it was an excellent game, competitive from both sides and there were moments where I thought we needed to make it happen and get a second in particular with counter moments,” Middendorp told SuperSport TV.
“We had in the second half, I am not talking about only the Samir Nurkovic, I am talking about Dumisani [Zuma], about Khama Billiat, but it’s soccer,” he added.
“In the end, we have to realize that a lot of players are coming from the injuries of about five or six months like Erick Mathoho, [Lebogang] Manyama and it is normal that we will not have a total progressive movement – it’s normal,” noted the manager.
“At the moment I am very happy and we got criticized a lot in the past, I think we have seen today the value of the fantastic goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi,” expressed the German manager.
Speaking about the penalty where defender Lorenzo Gordinho was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box before Akpeyi saved Bradley Grobler’s spot-kick, Middendorp praised the big Nigerian netminder.
“I watched it and I was hoping…ironically, I saw a lot of saves this week from players. They used to do it, three or four players after finishing in training and Daniel was very successful – I was hoping he will make it,” he continued.
“He made it and I think the result, I personally can live with it and let’s prepare for the next game on Tuesday evening [against Cape Town City],” concluded the Amakhosi boss.
On the other hand, the Amatsantsa A Pitori manager has heaped praise on Amakhosi’s Nurkovic and his players for their gallant fight, adding that even the best players miss penalties as he referred to Grobler.
“I think we didn’t have a good start, we had a poor first half and we were second to everything. They got the second ball, the first ball and they were a little bit more adventurous than us - we were always slow to get out of the blocks,” Tembo told SuperSport TV.
“I think we got better in the second half and we created chances like them. They also created and I think we could have stolen it at the death because we brought in [Thamsanqa] Gabuza,” he added.
“He gave them problems because Bradley can play off him whereas in the first half I think Bradley was a little bit isolated, but I think I will take a point although we could have hit it at the death. The draw is a true reflection of the game,” reacted the coach.
“We struggled a lot with Nurkovic, he's a different type of a player, strong in the air and we couldn’t deal with him, but I think we needed to be smarter and just only deal with the second run rather than focusing on winning the first header because he is strong, he is a big boy and he was winning everything,” he expressed.
“It happens even to the best players all over the world, they do miss penalties. Paul Pogba also missed a penalty last week, so for me, I look at the overall performance. He [Grobler] had a good game and that is very key,” concluded Tembo.