Johannesburg – Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter hailed his charges' character following their 2-0 win over SuperSport United in the pair's Nedbank Cup quarter-final clash at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
George Lebese scored two goals in the dying stages to send the Amakhosi flying into the semifinals, and the Chiefs coach lauded Bernard Parker, who came in as a substitute, for playing a vital role in unlocking the SuperSport defensive line.
“Well delighted to go through obviously,” Baxter said after the game. “I think the first hour of game was quite a good performance from both teams.
“I don't think both teams played with the quality to unlock the other. When we got Bernard on, we started moving better and started to play with better quality in between their lines because that's where it was difficult.
“We showed real quality twice and that's two goals.”
Although delighted with the result, Baxter said he was disappointed with his team's final ball as they struggled to go through United's organised and tightly-packed lines.
“Its difficult to pick your way through very tight lines,” Baxter added.
“They had three very tight lines. Their frontline, midfield and backline were difficult to poke some spaces. When we did find spaces, we didn't show the real quality or the inventiveness to kick on from there.
“The further the game went we started to find more combination play, movements and an intelligent pass.”
The Glamour Boys enjoyed the lion's share of possession but still could not convert into goals or chances, leaving Baxter questioning his outfit's perceived dominance.
“Ball possession in itself doesn't win games,” said Baxter.
“We have seen Barcelona play at 70% against 30% and lose 1-nil. I think the quality of our ball possession between the lines was not good enough this evening.
“I think if we can show the same tactical intelligence when we get there but increase the quality once we are there, then that's more like the Chiefs that I know.”
Matsatsantsa coach Cavin Johnson, meanwhile, believed that nerves got the better of both teams, with both struggling to find their usual rhythm.
“A typical cup game where both teams were quite cagey,” said Johnson.
“I thought we had better chances sometimes and they had chances. I took the chance and used all my substitutes in the 67th minute because I wanted to take the game.
“I changed all my strikers and attacking players because we thought we could really push them but we didn't make use of it the proper way.”
Johnson remarked that SuperSport had opportunities to score, but failed to put them away.
“At times I think we didn't hold on to the ball long enough and make ourselves available to get behind them,” Johnson said.
“They got it in the 89th minute and that was it. Then I threw everybody forward to say, 'let's rather lose 10-nin not 1-nil' and that's when Chiefs scored their second goal.”
Chiefs are now in line to defend their Nedbank title which they won last season, beating SuperSport in the final. – Sapa