It all started with a thunderous shot from Bloemfontein Celtic striker Helder Pelembe in the first leg of the MTN8 semi-final, with the teams playing to a 1-1 stalemate after Bernard Parker redeemed himself with the equaliser, having missed a penalty earlier.
Then followed a beautifully taken shot by Puleng Tlolane, who equalised for Polokwane City to salvage a point against Chiefs during their midweek 1-all Absa Premiership clash.
Heading to the second leg of the competition at the FNB Stadium today, Pelembe must be itching to launch another blistering shot to beat Khune.
However, the Chiefs shot-stopper has been working tirelessly at training to avoid being beaten by such goals again.
“Players are gaining confidence shooting from outside the box, but I have been working very hard at training with the rest of the team and it should be something we will fix going forward,” said Khune.
“But it is a collective effort; it is not only the goalkeeper who needs to deal with those shots.
“Even the players need to press the guy on the ball early and restrict him from getting a clear view of goals.’’
Khune reckons they will have to be rock-solid at the back and make sure they don’t allow Celtic to catch them on the counter.
“I’m saying the obvious, but it is very important to keep a clean sheet.
“We were 1-0 down in Bloemfontein, but we showed great character by coming back into the match and getting that important away goal.
“We are hosting Celtic, and we know just how good they are.
“The teams we play against sit back, wait for us to counter, then turn our counter into their counter-attack.
“So it is vital we remain disciplined and focused throughout. And, of course, not concede a goal. Then we are through to the final,” said the former Chiefs skipper.
“We are aware that each game in the MTN8 is worth R2-million. At the moment we have R4-million in the bag, so we are R4-million away from completing the R8-million.
“But it is not going to be easy.
“They are coming to FNB and you know what happens when teams come to our home base.”
Amakhosi were gifted two goals last time they played at home in their 4-0 victory over Free State Stars in an Absa Premiership clash, when Stars centre-backs, Robert Sankara and Liberty Chokomora, scored in their own net, which saw the Soweto giants record their first victory in the league.
Khune conceded that this season’s performance has not started like a house on fire but the team are working on it.
“We are not happy with the way we’ve started this campaign,” he said.
“Last season we went all the way to the MTN8 final without conceding a goal.
“However, this season we started badly by our standards.
“We’ve conceded four goals already in the same tournament, so we can only improve.
“And it will start today against Celtic,” said the ’keeper. - Saturday Star
Original source: Khune ready for long-range rockets