DURBAN – Leonardo Castro turned from zero to hero this past weekend as Kaizer Chiefs swept past Elgeco Plus of Madagascar 3-0 in the first leg first round of the Caf Confederation Cup.
The Colombian talisman was jeered by his own supporters during the game at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, when Amakhosi were still leading 1-0 via Philani Zulu’s strike.
But Castro responded in a suitable manner as he netted a brace to give his side a comfortable 3-0 lead going in to the second leg on Saturday in Madagascar.
Amakhosi coach Ernst Middendorp wasn’t too impressed by the antics of the Chiefs faithful.
“Just one comment that I would love to make: I think Leo Castro, we should all love him. He is not an entertainer, but Leo Castro is a scorer.
“I think we have seen it, and that’s why we brought him to Kaizer Chiefs. He is a fantastic player,” Middendorp told the media after the game on Saturday.
Castro proved to be the antagonist for Elgeco late in the game with his two strikes in the dying minutes.
“Probably he wasn’t in the game for 10 to 15 minutes, and everybody thinks that (he should be substituted), but I like these type of players.
“He came back and boom, he scored two goals and we got the result. I’m happy for him that he scored,” he added.
Castro has delivered seven goals in 18 appearances for Amakhosi across all competitions this season. He has really formed a formidable partnership with Khama Billiat upfront.
Chiefs will travel to Madagascar to try and finish the job on Saturday.
“This Elgeco Plus side was well organised and well structured. We got goals to lay the foundation to go to Madagascar and move into the next round.
“I’m quite sure that we are capable of setting one or two counters before halftime. It is all about managing (our lead),” Middendorp explained.