COMMENT: Kaizer Chiefs need Billiat and Castro more than ever after Sundowns loss

Khama Billiat Kaizer Chiefs January 7
A game of mistakes from both sides, but Chiefs should have done better to topple Sundowns this past weekend

Kaizer Chiefs' four-game unbeaten run against Mamelodi Sundowns came to an end this past weekend. 

While this was an improved performance by the Glamour Boys, they just didn't do enough to beat a Sundowns team which played in patches throughout the 90 minutes.

The defeat might not be justified given how well Amakhosi played, but the outcome of the encounter was always going to be defined by the mistakes committed by both sets of players.

Chiefs' defence made a single mistake which saw Sundowns punish them, while Virgil Vries' howler 10 minutes from time cost the team dearly. 

Ernst Middendorp's 3-5-2 system somehow took Sundowns by surprise, but this was a clear indication on the side of Chiefs to crowd the midfield and not allow the visitors to dictate proceedings. 

A makeshift midfield which saw Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya play in a more advanced role on the right-hand side of the pitch was perhaps the reason Sundowns breached their defence early on. 

Kaizer Chiefs formations PS

But after opening the scoring three minutes into the first half, Sundowns took the foot off the gas and allowed Chiefs to claw back and dominate the game.

However, like in their previous matches, especially at the start of the season, turning ball possession into goals was again their biggest downfall.

Even Pitso Mosimane admitted that he struggled to read Middendorp's tactics and that alone proves that Chiefs had a better game plan than Sundowns, although they ended up losing the game and most importantly the three vital points. 

Vries can be blamed for the costly mistake he committed on the day, but there's still a light at the end of the tunnel.

The sooner Middendorp works on the mistakes which continue to threaten Amakhosi's season and chances of challenging for the league title the better. 

Despite having defensive problems, it will be of great importance for the technical team to get both Khama Billiat and Leonardo Castro back into shape. 

Billiat v Castro PS

If the duo can start firing again, then Chiefs' chances of winning games will be huge, but credit should go to Mosimane for neutralizing them and ensuring that they don't haunt their former club. 

With several key players sidelined through injuries, the German mentor may have to work with the players he has at his disposal, something which will take time to execute.   

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The next few games will be vital for Chiefs, and looking ahead, they face a Bidvest Wits team who hold a five-point lead at the summit of the PSL log. 

Chiefs lost 3-1 to Wits in the first round through their defensive mistakes and their lack of killer instinct upfront. 

Losing two league matches on the trot would not be good for Middendorp because he was trusted with helping the club come out of a difficult situation, but if Chiefs don't start winning on a regular basis, then he would have failed in his mandate.