Bernard Parker had a brilliant performance, helping his side to a 2-1 win over Mamelodi Sundowns. ‘Die Hond’, who scored the equalizer, was handed the Absa Premiership Man of the Match for his effort.
“We knew it would be a game of small margins,” Parker reflected after a refreshing post-match shower. “We had a good plan of keeping it narrow, pushing Sundowns to the side and catch them on the counter.”
The plan didn’t exactly work at first. “We had a bit of a nervous start,” the Kaizer Chiefs striker admits. “But we got going the longer the game went on.”
The Brazilians scored the opener in the 26th minute, with the ball deflecting via Lorenzo Gordinho past goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.
“We defended well,” continues Parker, “protecting the half-space pockets. We were unlucky with their goal.”
Amakhosi, however, kept pushing, with the 31-year-old Glamour Boy from Reiger Park bringing his side back into the game.
“It’s always an unbelievable feeling to score as a striker,” he reacts on his beautiful goal in the 34th minute. “It’s also a great confident booster, wanting more.”
Chiefs played even better in the second half. “After the hour remark, Sundowns got a bit relaxed, getting arrogant. Our players up-front kept pushing them, challenging their defenders early on. When Gustavo Paéz came on for me, he also pressed and that paid off.”
The Venezuelan harassed Sundowns defender Bangaly Soumahoro to such an extent that he passed backwards. To the Ivory Coast player’s shock and Amakhosi’s delight, the ball ended in the back of the net.
Parker was obviously delighted with the important win over the Brazilians. “We showed great mentality to get into the match after having some difficulty early on. We ran our own race and didn’t allow complacency to slip in.”
‘Die Hond’ started this 2016/2017 Absa Premiership in eight games, with the first coming on 18 December 2016, helping Amakhosi beating Polokwane City, 3-2. The striker scored his first league goal this season during that game.
Since, Parker started in six of the following seven league fixtures, only missing out on a place in the starting line-up against Ajax Cape Town, although he came on in that game.
In the eight matches that he started, Chiefs booked six wins and two draws, collecting 20 points. ‘Die Hond’ netted five times in these encounters.
In total, Amakhosi are presently on a ten-game unbeaten league run, with the first being the goalless draw against Bloemfontein Celtic on 14 December 2016.
The Glamour Boys are now in second spot on the league table, two points behind BidVest Wits (41 versus 39). The Clever Boys, however, have two games in hand.
“We could only have beaten ourselves against Sundowns,” Parker concludes. “There is still room for improvement. The result could have been even better. We should be a bit more ruthless and straightforward in our decision-making going forward, also bringing in some composure and calmness. If we succeed in doing this, we will be difficult to beat.”