Ernst Middendorp. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/RICHARD HUGGARD
Ernst Middendorp. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/RICHARD HUGGARD

The near three-week break Kaizer Chiefs had from their last match disrupted their momentum‚ Amakhosi coach Ernst Middendorp said after his team suffered their first defeat of the 2019/2020 Premiership in a 1-0 setback against Polokwane City at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

Chiefs lacked flow and were disjointed as a defensive‚ hard-working City profited from Jabu Maluleke’s 16th-minute penalty‚ then were content to sit back and absorb pressure for most of the game.

Amakhosi were unable to provide slickness in their passing in the final third to break the Limpopo visitors down.

Middendorp said he believes an 18-day break for a Fifa international date and the MTN8 semifinals disrupted Chiefs’ rhythm‚ having been top of the log with three wins and a draw from four games.

He pointed out that Amakhosi were a pale shadow of the team who fought back from a goal down for a stirring 2-1 win against Cape Town City in their previous fixture at Newlands Rugby Stadium on August 27.

“We didn’t really come into the game. It was a bit surprising for me‚” Middendorp said. “I had some good training sessions over the long break. It looks like that break [was disruptive]‚ if you compare how we finished the period before against Cape Town City.

“In the second half we had opportunities to score, we didn’t take them. I would like to see the replay of the penalty. I don’t think Daniel Akpeyi had a very clear contact.

“In the end‚ we have to accept it. To look into it‚ I think a number of key players’ performances — from what we have seen in Cape Town and the games before that — were not what we expected.”

Middendorp said he had purposefully not raised the issue of the long break in his prematch interviews as he did not want to put that factor into his players’ minds.