Ernst Middendorp defends George Maluleka, Khama Billiat penalty misses


Chiefs’ met the end of the road in their 2019/20 Nedbank Cup campaign after a penalty shootout defeat to Highlands Park at Makhulong Stadium on Saturday evening.

Amakhosi managed to sneak into extra-time, thanks to an own-goal from Sello Motsepe, but ultimately failed to match the Lions of the North in sudden-death as George Maluleka and Khama Billiat failed to convert their spot-kicks.

Middendorp argued that both players are usually guaranteed to convert from 12 yards out, but conceded that this is the nature of a shootout and therefore fingers cannot be pointed at them.

“It’s always something where we are disappointed, there’s no doubt about it, but as I said, under the circumstances, there’s not really a game that we could see normally from our side,” said Middendorp.

“The penalties are always something in the end that [is unpredictable]. In particular, the two players who missed on our side – George and Khama – are normally 100 percent [guaranteed to score].

“Every time in training or whenever, regularly, they score. But this is what happens in the end, and it’s not to comment on. It’s a penalty shootout and Highlands Park qualified [for the next round]. As for us, we win together, and we’re not qualified together.”

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