Their three-match winning streak came to an end, and although Kaizer Chiefs didn’t lose, coach Giovanni Solinas bemoaned the number of missed chances in the goalless draw against Highlands Park.
Both teams had opportunities to score at the Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa on Tuesday night, with Hendrick Ekstein’s miss in the 72nd minute – after a dazzling bit of skill from Siphelele Ntshangase – arguably the most glaring.
Solinas, though, criticised the quality and size of the pitch at Highlands’ sold-out ‘Slaughter House’, which he felt affected his team’s approach.
“Good game. Both teams played well. We created chances to score, and it’s a pity that (we didn’t score). But I appreciate the effort that my players (put in) – until the last minute, they tried to win the game. So, I am happy,” Solinas said in a post-match interview with SuperSport.
“Difficult game to play as it was a small field, the grass is no good. To play combinations on the ground was not easy today.
“Highlands Park played a lot of long balls, and they also use the long throw-in. So, it is a fighting game.”
Highlands coach Owen da Gama did employ a swarming defence as they tried to keep the dangerous Chiefs trio of Khama Billiat, Lebogang Manyama and later Ekstein, and they held on for a point to retain their unbeaten streak at home this season.
Solinas hoped to unlock the Lions of the North by introducing Bernard Parker and Ekstein in the second half, but it didn’t result in a decisive goal.
“We changed to refresh the team. We put a player like Pule on as he is very good on the ball and good technically to play quick combinations. We put on Parker to put more pressure on the Highlands Park defence,” the Italian mentor said.
“In the second half, we created the chances to win the game. It’s a pity that we missed the chances, but it’s okay. We now focus on the next game.”
That next game will take place on Saturday at 6pm against Polokwane City, but it will be played behind closed doors at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
Chiefs received a sanction from the PSL for the crowd violence that engulfed their Nedbank Cup semi-final defeat to Free State Stars at the same venue, with two games to be played without spectators, with a third match suspended for 24 months.
Kaizer Chiefs will play the next Absa Premiership home fixture against Polokwane City FC behind closed doors.
No supporters (of any team) will be allowed into the stadium nor precinct.
The game will be broadcast live on SuperSport 4.#Amakhosi4Life pic.twitter.com/sGIOGQuekl