It’s clear that Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter would have forgiven his players if they hadn’t fought so hard on Saturday night to take the win at Baroka FC.
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Amakhosi defeated Bakgaga 1-0 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane to earn an important three points in their quest to climb the DStv Premiership log table.
The win saw Chiefs beat Soweto and Orlando Pirates to second place with 32 points from 18 games. However, they are still an incredible 16 points short of leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.
The reason Baxter would have understood if the result in Limpopo hadn’t been to their liking is because he knew they had the upcoming Soweto derby in the back of their minds.
“These guys deserve a huge pat on the back… That’s for two reasons; one, because they kept going and believed we could (still win) despite having 16 goals on goal and eight on goal, but we couldn’t get our noses up front,” Baxter said after the game.
“But also because we have Pirates after this and traditionally you want to see if they can keep their eye off the ball in the game before that.
“We have maintained our discipline well. We take the positives, which I think were enough, back to Joburg. We take the three points and look forward to the derby.”
The win was due to Khama Billiat’s last-minute attack, which made up for the many scoring opportunities he and Keagan Dolly had rejected in the game. Baxter said he had to play his substitutions well to avoid kickback from Baroka.
“I waited because Baroka’s biggest threat was when they were hollowing out balls in our penalty area and they did it with some quality and some aggression. So I really needed the three centre-backs, the three big boys, to head.
“But we just decided that we are playing so well that we went for it. We put in more attacking players. We took away a central defender and brought in Bibo (Sabelo Radebe) and Lebza (Lebogang Manyama) who would push forward and the ball would spin.
“They had an impact. They searched and at the finish we got the ball and Khama was there as he had been unsuccessfully all night. But this time he stuck it to the back of the net,” explained Baxter.