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The Phunya Sele Sele coach decided to freshen things up with four changes at half time and it worked perfectly as his side fought back to earn a draw

Bloemfontein Celtic head coach John Maduka’s decision to make four half time substitutions is what changed the complexion of their league encounter against Kaizer Chiefs, which ended in a 1-1 draw at the FNB Stadium on Saturday night.

This is the view of former Amakhosi and Bafana Bafana midfield playmaker Siyabonga Nkosi.

The hosts had come out firing at the start of the game and went in front after only seven minutes through an Anthony Agay header.

Then having squandered first half chances to add to their tally, Chiefs conceded an equaliser midway through the second stanza and were unable to muster much of a response after that.

The goal saw two of Celtic’s substitutes combining as Ryan de Jongh chipped in a delicate pass to Tumelo Mangweni, who delightfully controlled the ball before slamming home a volley past Daniel Akpeyi.

Mangweni and de Jongh as well as Tuemlo Njoti and Sera Motebang, had all come on at the start of the second half as Maduka played nearly all of his cards at once.

“You know, that bold decision at half time, to make four substitutions, from your own trusted starting line-up – and you bring them on to affect a game of this nature, where other coaches could have said, ‘let’s play out for a good 15 minutes, give these guys a chance to see now if they can up their game’,” Nkosi said during the post-match discussion in the SuperSport studio.

“Because in the first half I thought they (Celtic) were very lethargic. The only change was not in terms of tactics, but these four guys came in with better energy, prepared to get on the ball, better quality on the ball as well.”

The match was a third in a week for Phunya Sele Sele after they lost to Orlando Pirates in the MTN8 final last weekend and then beat Baroka FC 2-0 on Wednesday night, which emphasises why Maduka’s four subs helped re-energise his team.

Celtic next play on Wednesday – at home against Nigerian side Rivers FC in the Caf Confederation Cup.

Chiefs are in the same competition and they take on Angolan outfit 1 de Agosto, also at home on Wednesday.

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December 19, 2020
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