Middendorp in confident mood
Ernst Middendorp (Gallo Images)
Pietermaritzburg - Maritzburg United coach Ernst Middendorp believes they can oust SuperSport United in the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals.
“If we want to go through to the semi-final, we have to play the way we played in the second half against Chiefs,” Middendorp said on Tuesday.
The Team of Choice scored deep into stoppage time at the end of their Premiership meeting with Kaizer Chiefs to snatch a 1-1 draw at the Harry Gwala Stadium last week.
They can become the first team through to the last four when they face Matsatsantsa on Friday.
However, the German coach warned his team could face a backlash from the Pretoria outfit, who have managed just one win in the league so far and drew the other seven matches.
“I don’t think they have been inconsistent, but very consistent because of their results in terms of not losing and in terms of creating chances has been very good,” he said.
“They may be feeling they should have more points.
“That makes them even more dangerous. They could easily have had 15 or 16 points and that would have put them in second position in the league.
“It will come and I believe with the squad they have, they belong in the top three in the league.”
Gavin Hunt’s men instead sit in eighth place and went through to the Telkom Knockout last eight with a penalty shoot-out win over Ajax Cape Town, following a 1-1 draw.
Maritzburg, two places higher in the Premiership with three wins, four draws and a loss this year, also progressed via a shoot-out following their goalless draw with Swallows.
They then held Chiefs, thanks to a determined second-half showing.
“I think the spirit was very good and it shows how far this team has come,” Middendorp said.
“My players are trusting each other, the ones next to them on the field knowing that he has the quality, he has the ability, which is excellent.
“The way we fought back against Chiefs was really good, but there is still space for us to improve. We have not achieved anything as yet.”
The Maritzburg boss was pleased to have home advantage against SuperSport, ahead of a busy schedule over the next eight days.
“Every team is tough at this level," he said.
"We have SuperSport, we’ll take it, we have it here and don’t have to travel, which for me is always important."