Middendorp: I warned my players not to underestimate Maritzburg

Ernst Middendorp (Gallo Images)
Ernst Middendorp (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - A curse hanging over success-starved Absa Premiership giants Kaizer Chiefs continued on Sunday when a Judas Moseamedi brace gave outsiders Maritzburg United a 2-1 Telkom Knockout semi-final victory.

Moseamedi punished a Daniel Cardoso blunder to score on 30 minutes and after Yagan Sasman levelled 12 minutes from time, the Maritzburg forward struck the 84th-minute winner at the Mbombela Stadium.

Soweto-based Chiefs, whose nationwide popularity enables them to draw 90 000 crowds, have not lifted a trophy since being crowned 2015 Absa Premiership champions.

Since then there have been 19 league and cup competitions over five seasons, none of which Chiefs won.

The 2015 championship triumph was the 53rd in domestic competitions since Chiefs were formed in 1970 and they also lifted the now defunct African Cup Winners Cup 18 years ago.

Chiefs' German coach Ernst Middendorp felt the 2019/2020 league leaders may have underrated mid-table Maritzburg and were thinking of a final against arch rivals Mamelodi Sundowns.

"I warned my players not to underestimate Maritzburg, but I think some of them were already looking forward to a showdown next month with Sundowns," he said. 

"Maritzburg deserved to win and we had defensive issues, even when we outnumbered our opponents three to one in some situations."

United coach and former Bafana Bafana star Eric Tinkler said he was thrilled by the victory but disappointed at the scoreline in conditions so hot that there was a water break in each half.

"Chiefs were there for the taking and we should have slaughtered them. A victory by five or six goals would not have flattered us.

"Now we face Sundowns and I have told my players that if they want to be the best they have to beat the best."

On Saturday in Durban Sundowns survived a late Golden Arrows rally and having Uruguayan Gaston Sirino sent off for a deliberate stamp to win 2-1 and reach the December 14 final.

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