Chiefs battle for draw against Classic
Chiefs battle for draw against Classic

Posted in News on Jan 09, 2002.

Kaizer Chiefs coach Muhsin Ertugral was at pains trying to convince football news hounds that the title chase was not over despite another disappointing result against Classic on Wednesday.

Chiefs are without a victory in seven matches following Wednesday’s 0-0 draw against a sharp-looking Classic at the Rand Stadium. "I do not want to talk about the league title right now," said Ertugral. "We have important games ahead of us and we have to take it one match at a time."

If anything, Amakhosi were fortunate to come away with a point as Classic turned on the heat towards the end of the game and missed three clear-cut chances.

"The first half was the worst performance I have ever seen since coming here. We are still not playing as a team and this is a serious problem. Our wings were also not very effective on the day," lamented the Turkish coach.

Amakhosi were perhaps unsettled by the withdrawal of utility star Nhlanhla Kubeka with a head injury after eight minutes. Kubeka clashed with David Malatule as they went for the ball.

The absence of midfield wizard Jabu Pule through injury also had an effect on Amakhosi as they struggled to penetrate the opposition. Defender Cyril Nzama was also missing as he is attending trials in Greece. Striker Shaun Permall was out with injury.

Young Thabiso Malatsi was brought on in the 14th minute but coach Ertugral later admitted it was a wrong decision to introduce the youngster then. "I must admit it was a wrong choice. We should have perhaps brought on Nhlanhla Mathebula to give us more attacking as well as defensive options."

Malatsi made way for stalwart Doctor Khumalo in the 59th minute and Amakhosi started playing with more direction, venturing forward often.

But it was a case of too little too late as Classic also gained confidence. Goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez, who marshaled the goals in the absence of Brian Baloyi, pulled off an excellent save to deny Scara Ngobese in the 81st minute.

Classic came to life after that failed attempt and on 83 minutes, Tumelo Mofokeng’s shot had goal written all over it before Fernadez made an excellent save. But while Fernandez was still recovering from that attack, Classic were back on the rampage but this time Ngobese fired his shot above goal.

Classic coach Walter Rautmann was very excited at the end of the game as he exchanged hugs with Ertugral outside the dressing rooms.

The excitement was perhaps not for the outcome but the manner in which his side performed on the day. They are still without victory after 18 matches and dangerously rooted at the bottom of the table. Yet after a performance like that, the thought of surviving the axe might not be mere fantasy.

Chiefs had a couple of chances. Their best effort came in the 54th minute, but Malatsi’s effort was foiled by Stanley Phakathi. David Kannemeyer almost stunned the crowd in the 79th minute with a brilliant corner, which beat everyone, save for Classic keeper Bafana Khumalo.

Chiefs will have to double their efforts if they are to lift the championship, the only silverware missing in their trophy cabinet this season following their clean sweep in domestic competitions, coupled with an African crown.

Amakhosi’s next assignment is a home tie against unpredictable Bush Bucks at Ellis Park on Saturday night before they head to Loftus for a showdown with rivals Sundowns on Wednesday.


Classic: Mathebula, Nhlapo, Khumalo, Mahlangu, Phakathi (Mackett 76th), Malatule, Dlamini (Mthunzi 46th), Mofokeng, Maleka, Johnstone (Ngobese 52), Adebayo.

Coach: Walter Rautmann.

Kaizer Chiefs: Fernandez, Mabedi, Goldstone, Mthembu, Zwane, Sibeko, Kubeka (Malatsi 14th, Khumalo 59th), Mooki, Kannemeyer, Niemach, Sithole (Mkhize 46th).

Coach: Muhsin Ertugral.

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