Uncategorized 22.10.2013 06:00 am

Baxter hopeful of stars’ return

Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter is optimistic that striker Knowledge Musona, above, will be ready for the Soweto derby on Saturday, after he suffered an injury on Sunday. Picture: Gallo Images

Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter is optimistic that striker Knowledge Musona, above, will be ready for the Soweto derby on Saturday, after he suffered an injury on Sunday. Picture: Gallo Images

Stuart Baxter is optimistic that Knowledge Musona and Siphiwe Tshabalala will be fit for Saturday’s Soweto derby against rivals Orlando Pirates.

The players, among Baxter’s mainstays, showed signs of discomfort in Kaizer Chiefs’ 4-2 penalty shoot-out win over Free State Stars in a Telkom Knockout match. They left the field injured, leaving Baxter worried about their availability for Saturday’s much-anticipated match.

“I think they will be ready for Saturday,” Baxter said. “We will take the necessary precautions.” Musona equalised for Chiefs with a header and landed awkwardly on his shoulder while Tshabalala had pain in his ankle.

With Pirates on a high after reaching the Caf Champions League final for the second time in their history, Baxter cannot afford to miss two of his key players for the clash at FNB Stadium.

Pirates drew 1-1 against Tunisia’s Esperance three days ago and face Al-Ahly in the continent’s premier tournament final. After beating Stars at Charles Mopeli Stadium in a rain-soaked game on Sunday, Baxter praised his team for their “bravery”.

“We were brave and we played football despite the weather,” the Briton said. “We didn’t in the first half. Stars did not allow us to play from the back as they starved our centre-backs of ball.” For the derby, Baxter should expect his side to be as brave as he described them against Ea Lla Koto, who nearly beat them.

Baxter’s counterpart, Steve Komphela, said his charges let their foot off the pedal, succumbing to the defeat against Chiefs. “This match was not lost on penalties,” Komphela said.

“We lost it in the 82nd minute where we were on attack and upon transition. We switched off, and Chiefs went ahead and the goal the defining moment of the game.” The semifinal draw takes place tomorrow after the last quarterfinal game between Pirates and Golden Arrows.

 

 

 

 

 

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