Draw fair for Celtic, Chiefs
BOTH coaches would have settled for more, but neither could also find too much to complain about after Kaizer Chiefs and Bloemfontein Celtic battled to a tightly fought 0-0 Premiership draw at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday night.
Celtic, on the back of their 1-0 home win against Orlando Pirates, met the league's unbeaten, in-form team. Clinton Larsen's well-organised side worked frantically to deny Amakhosi the quick attacking they have displayed under Stuart Baxter this season, and were always a threat on the counter-attack too.
Chiefs, in turn, were forced to produce a supreme effort to break Celtic down, which they did especially well in two periods of tremendous pressure in the opening 20 minutes and midway through the second half, but Amakhosi could not bury their chances.
"We play an opponent that's going to play with two tight lines so we don't get much space for our combination play. And we don't have our possession sharp enough - we're losing too many balls, especially going square," he said. "Taking those things into account, and then saying, OK, we still dug out probably enough chances to win the game, and didn't take those chances."
Larsen was pleased to pick up Celtic's first point on the road. It was also the first time this season Phunya Sele Sele have followed a victory with a result other than a defeat. The Free State side have won all their home games, and before Saturday night had lost every away game.
"We've grown on the Pirates performance and we're looking for a lot more continuity and consistency in our performances," Larsen said. "It was our first point on the road, which was very important. We've been tagged as bad travellers and we're trying desperately to change that."
Larsen said it was always Celtic's intention to keep things tight against Amakhosi.