AmaZulu coach not sure if he has saved his job

2012-10-22 10:11

Under-pressure AmaZulu coach Roger Palmgren admitted he was unsure whether their Telkom Knockout victory over Platinum Stars would be enough to save his job.

The Durban club had picked up only one win in eight matches this season, prior to their 2-1 triumph at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont.

“I don’t know [if it’s a win that will save my job],” Palmgren said.

“I hope so and I hope this is a result that will [turn the season around for us].”

The Swedish boss had been under extreme pressure to deliver after a forgettable start to the campaign, which included a 6-0 hiding at home by Kaizer Chiefs in their opening league fixture.

That came a week after they were bundled out in the first round of the MTN8 and they have since lost a further four times to leave them at the bottom of the Premiership table.

Ayanda Dlamini scored in stoppage time against Stars, adding to an earlier own goal by substitute Enocent Mkhabela after Usuthu had fallen behind to a 52nd minute opener by Thuso Phala.

“I think we were the stronger team today, especially in the first half,” Palmgren said.

“We should have buried them and it should have been 2-0 or 3-0 because we created several very good chances.

“We conceded early in the second half, but we came back strongly and I think it’s a great, great morale boosting victory for the whole team.”

Palmgren was especially pleased with the character displayed by his side after they had been castigated in recent weeks following their woeful campaign thus far.

“I’m happy with the character more than anything else,” he said.

“It’s a big boost for the players, knowing that they can win.

“It’s hugely important and we can take a lot of confidence from this showing.”

Dikwena coach Cavin Johnson, whose side had come into the game on a high following league wins over AmaZulu and Mamelodi Sundowns, blamed a lack of edge in front of goal for the defeat.

“We scored the goal early in the second half and we should have won the game,” he said.

“We had two one-on-ones that in any normal game we would have scored.

“But looking at AmaZulu, they picked themselves up after they fell behind. We gave them one easy goal when my goalkeeper made a mistake.

“They just had their tails up after that and scored a late winner.”

Elsewhere yesterday, Bloemfontein Celtic staged a gutsy late fight back to beat Chippa United 2-1 at Philippi Stadium in Cape Town.

The home side scored just after the break through Buyani Sali, but late strikes from Dominic Isaacs and Jacky Motshegwa completed the turnaround for Phunya Sele Sele.

In earlier first-round matches, on Saturday, Maritzburg United snatched a surprise win, beating Moroka Swallows on penalties after a goalless encounter at Harry Gwala Stadium, and Collins Mbesuma scored a brace as title holders Orlando Pirates defeated Black Leopards 2-0 in Polokwane.

An emotional SuperSport United outfit, reeling from the death of former long-time assistant coach Thomas Madigage this week, stayed composed and progressed to the next round, edging Ajax Cape Town 4-3 on penalties, with the sides level at 1-1 after extra time.

Free State Stars dumped Golden Arrows from the cup competition with a 3-1 victory in Bethlehem.

On Friday evening, Wits had kicked off the last 16 action, pulling off a shock 3-2 win over league leaders Kaizer Chiefs at Bidvest Stadium.

Mamelodi Sundowns and University of Pretoria will square off in the last match of the first round at Loftus Versfeld tomorrow night.

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