Chiefs left too many gaps - Baxter

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iol spt feb24 Chiefs-Leopards

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Kaizer Chiefs boss Stuart Baxter admitted that his team were given a serious scare by National First Division out Black Leopards in their Nedbank Cup tie. Photo by Philip Maeta/Gallo Images

Johannesburg – Following his side’s 1-0 win over National First Division (NFD) outfit Black Leopards in the opening round of the Nedbank Cup on Sunday, Kaizer Chiefs boss Stuart Baxter admitted that his team were given a serious scare by their less fancied opponents.

Leopards put their visitors on the back foot early on and felt they could have gone on to win the game, were it not for a late goal from Knowledge Musona in the 110th minute that booked Amakhosi’s spot in the next round.

“We've got a lot of work to do,” Baxter said after the game at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.

“It was difficult for our lads to get themselves going, and they soon realised they've got a game on their hands.

“Far too many times we lost concentration both in possession and out of possession.”

Leopards managed not only to subdue their Premiership opposition, but also had several chances fall their way that could have been put away.

Chiefs struggled to assert themselves and found the going tough, as Leopards dominated the midfield exchanges and forced the Glamour Boys into a host of mistakes in their half of the field.

“Some of the things that went wrong today, there's no real excuse for,” Baxter added.

“If you drop off at the back and try to press in midfield, that becomes a 30-metre gap (between the defence and the midfield), then you're inviting them into that space. That's one thing we need to work on.

“One of the things we have to work on is that we don't produce the spaces that people can play in.”

Leopards coach Kosta Papic, meanwhile, cut a frustrated figure at the end, lamenting the fact that the hosts could have, and maybe should have, gone on to claim the win.

“We did everything. Like I said before, we were going to fight, we were not coming with any kind of respect ,” Papic said.

“One silly mistake cost us the game and we lost, but that is football.

“I’m disappointed. I must congratulate Chiefs, they were lucky to win the match.”

Currently fourth in the NFD, Leopards have scored the most goals in the division, but struggled to find the back of the net. Papic put it down to a lack of opportunities.

“When we came into this match, we wanted to show them what quality we have. I hope the country realises that we are not afraid of anybody,” he said.

“We’ve practised the same style for six or seven months, the same style. They did it, but unfortunately we lost.

“We are scoring so many goals in the NFD because we are creating so many chances. Today, we didn’t create many chances and unfortunately we didn’t score.”

The draw for the next round of fixtures takes place in Johannesburg on Thursday. – Sapa

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