Coach Ernst Middendorp dressed a satisfied face following Amakhosi’s victory over AmaZulu in a pulsating thrills a minute Absa Premiership on Heritage Day.
“Actually, we dominated the first half of the game,” said Middendorp. “We had a moment with Nurković‘s head injury which resulted in several stop-starts which affected our momentum. We had forced changes which also affected our flow.”
Middendorp referred Samir Nurković’s head injury, Reeve Frosler ankle and substitute Ntiya-Ntiya went out with a leg injury. They will be assessed on Wednesday to ascertain the extent of their injuries.
“We came to Durban knowing it was going to be tough,” added Middendorp. “I am happy with the three points because that’s what we discussed during the week. I’m glad we achieved our objective of coming here. That’s collecting the three points and that’s what we did. Thanks to the team performance.”
Referee adjudged AmaZulu attempts at goal as offsides. “It’s always after the game when we lament the mistakes that the referee committed,” said Middendorp. “The referee is duty bound to make calls, and that’s how it happened. An offside is offside I could sit here reminding everyone about the brutal tackles during the game. And that will not change the results.”
With Chiefs topping the table after six games, Middendorp commented: “We worked hard to put the players in the right place. I’m not thinking much about Q1 but if it comes, we will accept it.”
Skipper Itumeleng Khune made a welcome return in goals after a lengthy lay-off due to injury. “Itu’s return has always been a matter of the right time,” said Middendorp. Daniel Akpeyi has accepted Khune’s return and is supportive as teammate.”
With Chiefs returning to winning ways after losing to Polokwane City in their previous game, any worries about inconsistency creeping? “We’ve experienced good games,” concluded Middendorp. “We have quality and flexibility. We have good character and attitude. We worked hard during off-season on and off the field of play.”
Chiefs welcome Baroka FC in their next match. The mouthwatering league fixture is billed to take place on Saturday 28 September at FNB Stadium. Kick-off is at 18:00.