Chiefs taught a tough lesson

2008-07-27 00:00

PRETORIA — Kaizer Chiefs were taught a tough lesson by English and European champions Manchester United in the Vodacom Challenge final at Loftus on Saturday.

United scalped Amakhosi 4-0, but even Red Devils manager Sir Alex Ferguson felt sorry for his leg-weary opponents.

He said: “Chiefs were obviously tired from their 2-0 win over Orlando Pirates in Port Elizabeth on Thursday night. I watched that game; it was full of speed and passion. That affected Chiefs’ performance against us. It was tough for them facing two big teams in two days.”

The United boss admitted his side struggled to a 1-1 draw against Chiefs in the first game of the tour last Saturday in Cape Town.

“Then we managed to beat Orlando Pirates 1-0 in Durban on Tuesday night and it was only in the second half of the final that we coasted. The reason was Chiefs were tired and ran out of steam. But Chiefs and Pirates are a credit to South African soccer.”

The tournament showed that no matter how good a team is, they cannot be expected to play two big games in two days. That proved a bridge too far for gallant Chiefs.

Chiefs coach Muhsin Ertugral admitted his side ran out of legs before half-time against a fired-up United.

“We tried our best, but could not keep it going. Playing two really tough games within 48 hours was the reason. It’s an impossible task trying to beat a side I rate as the best in the world only 48 hours after we have beaten Pirates 2-0 in a bruising battle.”

Ferguson lavished praise on both Pirates and Chiefs.

“When I played in the Challenge for the first time in 2006, I brought along a young side with one or two experienced players. The fact that I brought my best available squad here this time round with a couple of youngsters shows the respect I have for the way the game has improved in this country.”

Ferguson said that he thought United might have been a little fortunate to have led 1-0 at the break through a late goal from veteran Welsh wizard Ryan Giggs.

“But,” he added, “once we got the first goal, it was just a matter of how many. Unfortunately, Chiefs tired badly in the second half and we punished them. I was delighted with the result and overall good that has come from this tour. We have trained hard in good conditions and this week has helped me prepare for the forthcoming English Premiership season.”

Ertugral said he and his players learned a lot and this experience will help mould his squad ahead of the new Premier Soccer League season.

“It showed that South African soccer is naive in certain aspects,” said Ertugral. “United showed us how to organise and what precision football means to a winning combination.”

Ertugral also said United showed up South African soccer by the way local players hold onto the ball too long.

After Giggs opened the scoring, the floodgates opened up in the second half where Wayne Rooney, teenager Tom Cleverley and Frazier Campbell all found the back of the Chiefs net.

But Ertugral said his players would go into this Saturday’s Telkom Charity Cup as better players, having learnt their lessons from one of the best teams in world soccer.

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