Chiefs crash Maritzburg
There was plenty of drama during Wednesday night’s two MTN8 quarter-final matches, with Kaizer Chiefs and Bloemfontein Celtic emerging victorious after extra time and penalties respectively.
Chiefs scored twice in extra time to beat Maritzburg United 5-3, while Celtic and Mamelodi Sundowns both scored in extra time (1-1) before the Free State side triumphed on penalties.
Chiefs winger George Lebese was instrumental in helping AmaKhosi fight back against the Team of Choice after they had gone into the break 2-0 down.
“It was more about us coming back and playing like champions, after what the coach said to us in the half-time team talk,” the Man of the Match said after the game.
“He told us that we are already two down, if they have to win this match let them win by eight goals, we have to give everything we have.”
Chiefs coach Steve Komphela explained how he had to find a way to inspire his side to fight back after they found themselves facing possible elimination after the first 45 minutes at the FNB Stadium. “It is totally uncharacteristic of our team to be conceding like that, but sometimes you need that so that there is a test of character,” said Komphela.
“In the dressing room (at half time) all that we said is, ‘listen, adversity is the breakfast of champions. If we are going to defend this trophy then we need to come out of this mud and we have to start better in the second half,’ which we did.”
Maritzburg coach Mandla Ncikazi saw his team making a real fight of the game, which proved a great spectacle for the neutral as eight goals were scored on the game. But Ncikazi was less than pleased with his side’s performance.
If you concede five goals you can’t be proud. I thought at one point we had the match in our hands, but we let it go,” he said. “Maybe it was experience, conceding three goals in 15 minutes was too much, but I understand as it is the first match of the season and I am also new on this platform, but I think we can improve from here.”
Celtic boss Clinton Larsen heaped praise on his side for the manner in which they never gave up, even after conceding first in extra time.
“I thought a few players had really done well for us. Alfred Ndengane in the midfield was outstanding for us. He broke down play exceptionally well and his switch of the ball in midfield was very good.
“Also there was a very positive impact from my three substitutes. I thought [Vuyani] Ntanga, Dumsani Zuma and (Lyle) Lakay had a positive influence when they came on. But one has to give credit to my team for their fighting spirit once again. I am very proud of their performance.”
Sundowns head coach Pitso Mosimane thought that on the balance of play, his side should have emerged victorious, but was accepting of the outcome as his side crashed out on penalties.
“I think we were never under threat so much…..above all, I think we dominated, we tried to win and force. But you know when you go to penalties, you will not be lucky all the time.
“In the Nedbank we won and tonight was not our night. We should accept and congratulate Bloemfontein Celtic.”