MTN8: It was an ugly win, says Wits coach Gavin Hunt

Wits coach Gavin Hunt conceded his side’s 4-3 MTN8 cup win on penalties over Bloemfontein Celtic on Friday was not the most entertaining football match.

“It was a fight and a battle out there, that’s all the game was,” Hunt said at Bidvest stadium after his side advanced to the semi-finals of the competition. “The hard pitch didn’t help matters as well. We couldn’t get the ball down and play our game. It wasn’t lovely to watch,” he said. 

After 120 minutes of play, nothing could separate the two sides as the match ended in a goalless stalemate. The two hours of play took its toll on both sets of players after a near three month of inactivity in the off-season. 

Hunt praised Celtic coach Ernst Middendorp for a tactically astute performance. “They really played well. They came out to our home turf and brought the fight to us,” said Hunt. 

The former SuperSport United coach was nevertheless pleased with his team’s progression in the cup and said he expected improvements in the coming weeks. “It’s a cup game and we got through, that’s what counts. At home we needed to push harder. They won everything in the middle of the park and out-fought us in many ways,” Hunt said. “We will have a different look and shape to us by next week. There are some players whose work permits we still need to sort out.” 

Middendorp said his side’s finishing cost them a ticket into the next round. “We didn’t deserve to lose,” said Middendorp. “We didn’t kick the ball into the net. We had a number of fantastic chances to win the match. We had four or five counter attacks and had possibilities.” 

Middendorp highlighted some key areas his team would work on in the next training session. “We must work on our positioning in the final third. “Passing and shooting which was our downfall in the end. I believe we can beat anybody.” 

Following their cup exit, Celtic have shifted their attention to the Premiership opener where they face Mpumalanga Black Aces on August 10 at the Free State Stadium. “I see a lot of potential in this team. We lost in this moment because we didn’t convert our chances. 

“We will move on and work on it. In our next league match we want the three points and nothing less.” 

Wits meanwhile are set to take on SuperSport in their title race opener at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on August 9. – Sapa

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