Barker rues missed opportunity

football18 April 2024 12:37| © Mzansi Football
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Steve Barker © Gallo Images

Stellenbosch coach Steve Barker was left ruing a missed opportunity to open up a gap between themselves in second spot on the DStv Premiership standings and third placed Orlando Pirates, after they let a halftime lead away at Sekhukhune United slip on Wednesday.

The Ivorian attacker Anicet Oura scored for a second successive game to hand the Winelands club a 1-0 lead at the break in their catch-up fixture at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, but substitute Chibuike Ohizu netted a deserved equaliser with four minutes remaining.

“It’s a bit tough when you concede as late as that, but it was maybe a game of two halves,” the Stellenbosch coach told the club’s website after the game

“I thought in the first half we really played well and dominated the ball, dominated the game, and created some really good chances.

“Our front-four’s movement caused them problems and with a little bit of luck we could have got a second goal before halftime, but as it was we went in with a 1-0 lead at the break.

“In the second half, they changed their game plan a little bit and made a couple of subs, went man-on-man in midfield, and threw numbers forward.

“We had a chance from a goal-mouth scramble, and if that goes over the line it’s a 2-0 game which makes it more difficult for them, but it wasn’t to be.

“Then credit to them because they threw caution to the wind and numbers forward, and played with a lot of energy,” added Barker.

The point advanced Stellenbosch to the 40-pont mark, 13 behind runaway leaders Mamelodi Sundowns but three above Pirates, who like Stellies have seven matches remaining.

Stellenbosch faded in the second half as the exertion of their Nedbank Cup quarterfinal triumph over SuperSport United last Saturday began to tell.

“This was our second game in four days and I thought we looked a little bit fatigued in the last 15-20 minutes, so it was just a matter of trying to hold out until the end which we unfortunately didn’t.

“We seem to draw a lot against Sekhukhune United but it’s not a bad point to get away from home, especially with another big away game coming on Sunday against TS Galaxy in Mbombela.

“These two games away were always going to be a big challenge for us so if we can come away from them with some points, hopefully with three points against Galaxy, would put us in a really strong position.

“We need to regenerate and rejuvenate physically and mentally over the next couple of days before we travel for that game,” added Barker.