united blame heat for slip

THE heat is on Absa Premiership log leaders SuperSport United, and that's not only because they dropped points in a goalless draw against Bloemfontein Celtic at Loftus on Saturday.

THE heat is on Absa Premiership log leaders SuperSport United, and that's not only because they dropped points in a goalless draw against Bloemfontein Celtic at Loftus on Saturday.

United think the sweltering temperatures at the Tshwane venue took a lot out of the players and the game.

Coach Gavin Hunt said: "The match was not exciting because it was also too hot for the players."

In fact, the defending champions were a tinge lucky to get a point from the visitors. United huffed and puffed while Celtic were poor in front of goal.

With the game barely five minutes old, Celtic scorned a gift from United's goalkeeper Emile Baron.

The goalie committed a schoolboy error by picking up a back pass in his own 18-yard area to give away a free-kick that United dealt with.

That was the first goal-scoring opportunity Celtic wasted.

Celtic substitute Excellent Walaza wasted another gilt-edged chance in the second half when he failed with an attempted chip over Baron.

Long-serving player Moses Spandeel squandered the last big chance of the game on the stroke of full time. Instead of banging in a shot - even United's players were sure he was going to hit it - Spandeel tried to side-foot the ball into the net and was dispossessed seconds later.

Like Hunt, Celtic coach Owen da Gama felt pity for the players who found it difficult to cope with the sweltering heat on the day.

About the game, Da Gama said: "We created a lot of chances but did not convert them. But at the same time the heat had an adverse impact on the players."

PSL chief operations officer Professor Ronnie Schloss yesterday said both teams should have negotiated for a water break.

"It is permissible to stop the game for a water break if both teams have struck a deal with the referee before the kickoff of the game," explained Schloss.

"It is not something unique, it has happened before. Teams' officials must take responsibility."

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