Chiefs’ win won’t de­cide league vic­tory, says Bax­ter

Weekend Witness - - Sport -

PRE­TO­RIA — De­spite stretch­ing their ad­van­tage to eight points at the top of the Premier­ship ta­ble, Kaizer Chiefs boss Stuart Bax­ter be­lieves Thurs­day’s 1­0 vic­tory over Mamelodi Sun­downs will not de­cide who wins the league this sea­son.

“The game tonight was an im­por­tant one, of course it was. It was be­tween two teams who were com­pet­ing to be at the top of the league,” Bax­ter said af­ter the game at Lof­tus Vers­feld in Pre­to­ria.

“It was never go­ing to be a de­cider, not in any way, shape or form.”

Chiefs grabbed the lead cour­tesy of a Sun­downs own goal, which ex­tended their win­ning streak to seven con­sec­u­tive Premier­ship games, equalling the club record.

Bax­ter, how­ever, said Amakhosi still had a long way to go in de­fend­ing their ti­tle.

“If Sun­downs had won, they would’ve closed the gap on us and given them­selves a lot of mo­men­tum. If we won the game, we were only open­ing that gap and giv­ing our­selves a lit­tle bit more of a cush­ion. Yes, it equals Chiefs’ all­time record of wins, and I’m sure the play­ers will draw con­fi­dence from that.”

The Soweto gi­ants headed into the clash with a five­point ad­van­tage over Sun­downs. Just eight min­utes into the highly an­tic­i­pated af­fair, Wayne Arendse sent the ball into his own net, and Chiefs saw out the re­sult.

“That game was rep­re­sen­ta­tive of a match be­tween two teams com­pet­ing for the cham­pi­onship. I think even the neu­trals would have been very pleased to watch an ex­cit­ing game like that,” Bax­ter said.

The for­mer Bafana Bafana coach ad­mit­ted Sun­downs looked the bet­ter team at times and were un­for­tu­nate not to come away with a bet­ter re­sult against a Chiefs side who were strug­gling to keep up with their Pre­to­ria neigh­bours.

“I was glad at the end of the game to come away with the vic­tory,” Bax­ter said. “I said to Pitso [Mosi­mane] af­ter­wards that some­times you play good foot­ball and you don’t get your just re­wards. I thought we bat­tled our way through to a three­pointer.

“So I’m very pleased to take the three points. If I was Pitso, I’d be a lit­tle bit dis­ap­pointed, be­cause some­times you lose and you can’t be dis­ap­pointed be­cause you didn’t play well. But I thought they [Sun­downs] played very well tonight.”

With 33 points from their 15 games thus far, the Glam­our Boys moved clear of the rest of the chas­ing pack. But Sun­downs have a game in hand over Chiefs, so the Brazil­ians could yet re­duce the deficit to five points.

“If they win their game in hand, they’re back in con­tention,” Bax­ter said.

“[The win] gives us mo­men­tum be­cause we re­spect Sun­downs and their play­ers. So, there­fore, it gives us more self­con­fi­dence.” — Sapa.

PHOTO: GALL0 IM­AGES

Or­lando Pi­rates coach Roger de Sa dur­ing his side’s 1­1 draw with AmaZulu at Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium on Thurs­day night. De Sa had plas­tic bot­tles thrown at him when he left the pitch af­ter the match.

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