I am ‘pig sick’ — Hunt

2009-10-29 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — SuperSport United coach Gavin Hunt admitted that he was “pig sick” after his 10-man­ Absa Premiership defending champions and current log leaders dropped two points when a last-gasp goal by Phikolethu Spelman earned second-placed Santos a 2-2 draw in a controversial clash at the Super Stadium­ on Tuesday night.

Hunt was not upset with his players but at the handling of the match by referee Peter Mabuza.

Mabuza sent off United captain Bongani Khumalo in the 52nd minute for allegedly spitting at Santos goalkeeper Tshepo Motsoeneng — an allegation that Hunt strongly denied.

He also took issue with Santos’s opening goal scored by Graham King which, Hunt claimed, was scored from an indirect free kick in the 18th minute.

Last week, at the same venue, United­ had another defender Tsietsi Mahoa sent off against Orlando Pirates­. When Mahoa was red-carded, United were leading 1-0 and went on to win 3-0.

“We seem to play better with 10 men. We are certainly getting enough practice at it. Even down to 10 men against Santos we were comfortable. But one slip and we ended up conceding a goal with 30 seconds to go. It was very frustrating. Santos came to defend and frustrate us. I had hoped that they would come and try to play, but they did not and, in the end, we battled to break them down. We should have won but in the end we dropped two points.”

But Hunt said that there would be no point in reporting the referee, who had a shocker, to the PSL.

“What is the point of that? We drew and that is that. No matter what we say, it won’t make any difference. But this type of situation makes us stronger. We are getting good at playing with 10 men and this will stand us in good stead as the season gets tougher. We showed hunger and determination with only 10 men.”

Hunt’s tactics of going for three points despite the handicap of playing with 10 men shows that he is Bafana head-coach material.

The sending off was controversial. Motsoeneng, a former United player was the aggressor when he pushed Khumalo in a scuffle and if anybody should have been punished in this incident it was the Santos keeper. What is also strange is that Mabuza ran to his assistant when he was closer to the incident. Why?

Hunt said that he would fine Khumalo­, a Bafana Bafana defender, six months’ wages if he is found guilty of spitting at an opponent.

“Never in a million years would Khumalo do something like that. I know him. But, if he did, I will dock six months wages off him. This is how confident I am that he is not guilty.”

Hunt will be minus Khumalo and Mahoa when they face another top side, BidVest Wits, at Milpark on Saturday night.

“This will be another bun fight. But we are up for the challenge.”

Santos coach Boebie Solomons conceded that Spelman got his side out of jail. “We were a bit flat tonight. We did not play as well as we can,” said Solomons.

But he was the first to praise United and Hunt. “SuperSport are a great side with a top-class coach. They are not easy to beat. I am happy to take a point home with me. We had chances in the first half. King missed two easy ones, but United also had their opportunities to score.”

Solomons praised his side’s fighting spirit. “We showed tremendous character out there and never gave up until­ literally the final whistle, and we got our reward. This augurs well for Santos­ and we will need all that spirit and character in the second half of the league which is going to be really tough this season.”

Morgan Gould and teenager Thandani Ntshumayelo scored for United.

Of 19-year-old midfielder Ntshumayelo, Hunt said: “He is a budding talent and took his goal beautifully. He still has a way to go but [he] has got plenty of potential.” — Sapa.

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