Johannesburg – Premiership newcomers University of Pretoria have not set a target for the league season, according to coach Steve Barker, and instead are looking to improve throughout the campaign in an effort to remain in the top flight of South African football.
Barker's side held Pretoria neighbours SuperSport United to a goalless draw at the Tuks Stadium on Saturday afternoon, leaving last season's National First Division champions fourth in the Premiership table after three rounds as they continued their unbeaten run.
“We've always known being newcomers to the league, we need to be solid, we need to be hard to beat, especially at home,” Barker said.
“We have to take it game for game. After 10 games we'll see where we are, after 20, see where we are.
“We haven't got a target, we just want to keep doing well as a team, improving week in and week out.”
The Amatuks boss was delighted with their performance against an established outfit like United, league champions three times in the last five seasons, who were frustrated by the new boys.
“I'm very pleased with the performance,” Barker said.
“We could have stolen it there at the end. We were a little bit unlucky but at the same time, we've got to take a point at home and be happy with that.
“We don't want to make it easy for teams to come here, so I just thought once again a great performance and commitment from the players under difficult circumstances against a very good team.”
The draw saw Tuks move to five points – one behind third-placed Moroka Swallows and two adrift of log leaders Kaizer Chiefs.
Swallows enjoyed a dominant afternoon on Saturday as they thrashed defending champions Orlando Pirates 3-0 in Soweto, while Chiefs were held to a goalless draw by second-placed Free State Stars at the Charles Mopeli Stadium in Phuthaditjhaba.
With his side sitting pretty in the top half of the table, Barker was proud of the way they managed to keep United at bay.
“One has got to see who you are playing against in situations in a game,” he said.
“I felt that today, getting a point would be good for us, so we had two strikers on for the last 10 minutes.
“We tried to sneak a win but at the same time we did not want to lose the game.
“We want to be here, we want to play against the best. I told the players that we are in the PSL, we aren't here to make up numbers and we have to be ready for these challenges.”
Elsewhere, Wits University's newly-acquired striker, Terror Fanteni, scored on debut to help his side to a comfortable 2-0 home win against Bloemfontein Celtic, while Amazulu earned their first point of the new campaign after a 0-0 draw with KwaZulu-Natal rivals Golden Arrows at Moses Mabhida Stadium. – Sapa