Bloemfontein Celtic’s Malawian coach John Maduka was pleased with his side’s effort with 10 men in their 1-0 defeat to Orlando Pirates on Tuesday.
Celtic went a man down on the stroke of half-time when Ndumiso Mabena was sent off for a studs-up challenge on Linda Mntambo.
However, they held their own with the numerical disadvantage, creating a number of chances for themselves on the break and limiting Pirates to few opportunities.
“I think when we were eleven versus eleven, we looked okay. We did compete until that moment that one was taken out for a red card,” Maduka told SuperSport TV.
“But, apart from that, in the second half we were forced to change the way we had played. It’s always difficult. Especially when you are playing against a quality team like Pirates one man down.
“But second half with our plan, it worked. We managed to go even in the final third. Before they scored, we had a couple of chances. One of them was 1 v 1 with the keeper. Lack of concentration. We got punished.
“The boys played. They gave their best. They worked so hard. Second half it was much better even though we were down a man.”
When asked about on-loan Pirates defender Justice Chabalala at the heart of his defence, Maduka was left running out of superlatives.
“Something on another level. On another level. He worked very hard. They could not beat him in 1 v 1 situations. He used the ball so well. It’s good to have a player of his calibre in your defence,” said the Phunya Sele Sele tactician. — KickOff
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