Sport / Phakaaathi / Local Soccer

Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
3 minute read
25 Nov 2021
10:49 am

Baxter unhappy, says Chiefs were losing the game before Cole’s red card

Sibongiseni Gumbi

'It was a poor performance from our side and the red card was a result of the game being a bit hectic and chaotic,' says the Chiefs gaffer.

Cole Alexander of Kaizer Chiefs receiving his marching orders against AmaZulu. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Kaizer Chiefs feel that they could have held on and scored a big win against AmaZulu on Wednesday had they not been reduced to 10-men. With about 15 minutes to the end, Amakhosi were leading 1-0 in the DStv Premiership match at FNB Stadium, but Cole Alexander received his second yellow card and was sent off, with Usuthu ultimately finding the equaliser.

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But coach Stuart Baxter felt the game was slipping away from them even before they were reduced to 10-men. 

“I think we opened well. We were quite sharp in the first 15 minutes. We moved the ball quickly and put them on the back foot. We created a couple of good chances,” said Baxter after the game. 

“But then the first time that they slipped through our press we allowed them a chance and suddenly it was like we went down a notch in confidence and concentration. 

“The game then began more evenly and we didn’t have the domination we had in the first 15 minutes. At half time I was clear that I wanted a braver performance on the ball and I wanted them to open the game a little more. But we didn’t do that. 

“That is what I need to find out. Was it over enthusiasm? Was it complacency? Was it tiredness? Was it lack of concentration or was it poor technique? I’ve got to work it out.”

Baxter also complained that while the referee’s decisions were correct, they were not consistent.

“It was a poor performance from our side and the red card came as a result of the game being a bit hectic and chaotic. It was okay because there were two yellow cards. They were yellow card offences (in both instances). 

“That was the point I had with the referee that some player went over the ball and he gave a free kick and a warning but no yellow card. Another player pulled on Cole (Alexander) and there was no yellow card. 

“I have no problem with Cole getting the yellow cards but I felt the consistency was a bit weird. 

“After that the equaliser came, and they also got their red card and the game just fizzled out after that.”

The cards collected by Alexander were a bit disappointing in that the fouls were needless as the players he tackled and hacked down were not posing danger. Considering his experience, the costly mistakes should not be tolerated. But Baxter disagrees.  

“It’s difficult isn’t it? Happy (Mashiane) got a red card against Al Ahly and it changed the game. Red cards do change the game. But you can’t take the commitment from the players, you have to manage it. 

“When I came here the first time around. WIllard Katsande was arguably a hoolidan on the field. But he changed, we managed it… 

“Cole plays on the edge and has energy and we like that about him. But we were losing control in the game even with 11 men. We have to work on trying to make sure that we stay on the line of being competitive without crossing it.”