Absa Premiership

Middendorp relieved after win

2014-11-24 14:26
Ernst Middendorp (File)

Johannesburg - Bloemfontein Celtic coach Ernst Middendorp says he did not know whether to laugh or cry during his team's last-gasp 1-0 Premier League victory over Chippa United at the Free State Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Celtic snatched the valuable three points that elevated them into a crucial top eight position in the PSL log table via man-of-the-match Lerato Lamola's late header in the 83rd minute.

"But let's face it, we dominated the proceedings for 90 minutes and created countless opportunities of scoring and should have won comfortably," Middendorp said.

"It was frustrating watching so many good scoring chances going to waste and I was beginning to become resigned to the fact we would never get a goal.

"Fortunately, all ended well with Lamola's well-taken late goal, but only after a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering."

Middendorp said he was encouraged by his team's play generally and their continued improvement after a shaky start to the season.

"I have always maintained that we have a squad capable of holding their own with any side in the Premier League, but a string of injuries and an uncanny sequence of bad luck in our matches early in the season caused us to lose matches we should have won.

"Now the team has stabilised with three wins and a draw in our last four matches and I believe we can go from strength to strength, starting with the testing game against Ajax Cape Town in Cape Town on Wednesday."

It was a different story as far as Chippa United coach Roger Sikhakhane was concerned, with the Port-Elizabeth-based team only surrendering an impressive unbeaten run of six games over a three-month period.

"We conceded a totally unnecessary free-kick in the dying minutes and it was from this free-kick that Celtic made their late breakthrough," Sikhakhane said.

"If I have to fault my players during the game it was for giving away free-kicks with needless infringements and earning five yellow cards.

"We were well on course for achieving a hard-earned draw in what is always a difficult away game in Bloemfontein when we presented Celtic with a golden opportunity of scoring."

Sikhakhane said the testing sultry conditions had also "taken it out" on his players and accounted for the second-half dip in form.

But Chippa will be hoping the heat will be off them when they entertain another Free State side, namely Free State Stars, in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, as the promoted club attempts to regain their impetus and forge back up the log table after slipping from second to seventh as a result of the Celtic defeat.


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