It was not the first time that Amakhosi’s mistakes gifted Eric Tinkler’s side goals as the same happened in the Telkom Knockout semifinals and league game late last year.
On Saturday, goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi failed to hold on to the ball in a situation that looked like a routne catch and it fell kindly for Tebogo Thlolane who squared it to Dylon Classen to slot into an empty net in the 77th minute. A few minutes later, more indecision in defence for Amakhosi resulted in Classen heading the ball into an empty net yet again to complete his brace.
Chiefs did eventually try to come back and halved the deficit when Samir Nurkovic headed home from a Lebogang Manyama corner kick. The Serbian striker could however have scored at least twice before but was denied by unbelievable goalkeeping by Richard Ofori in the Maritzburg goal.
“It is difficult to process this result,” said Middendorp afterwards. “At half time we were sitting at two goal attempts, excellent shots…but all of a sudden you are 2-0 down after you had opportunities to be far ahead in the first half already.
“We were perhaps too casual. Regarding the performance, we were aware it was going to be a difficult game. They were sitting deep waiting. We did well in defence and didn’t allow them the counter attack like in the semifinal match and the one in December.
“We were quite organised in terms of our attacking movement and goal attempts was maybe 22-to-two but in the end the transition could have been faster. A poor performance and I mentioned it before, unfortunately we have it against this opponent. The first goal they scored in the semifinals was a huge mistake in Nelspruit. And to bring them into the game in December, again a mistake.
And we did it again providing a nice casual moment to go 1-0 down. And within four minutes we were 2-0 down,” said the 61-year-old German mentor.
“We have to learn that we need to minimize making such mistakes in such a game because you make it difficult for yourself. We are disappointed,” he added.