Dillon Sheppard and Stuart Baxter (Gallo Images)
Kaizer Chiefs head coach Stuart Baxter admits that allowing Lebogang Manyama to take the penalty was the wrong decision following their DStv Premiership defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld on Sunday.
Goals by Grant Kekana and Peter Shalulile gave the Brazilians a 2-0 victory and lifted the champions to the summit of the log standings.
Despite the defeat, Amakhosi put on a spirited performance and came close on numerous occasions to scoring on the day.
Manyama returned from a lengthy injury layoff and was summoned off the bench by Baxter late in the second half.
Minutes after being on the pitch, Cole Alexander’s attempted cross in the box, which hit the arm of Downs defender Rivaldo Coetzee and Chiefs were rightly awarded a penalty.
To the surprise of many, Manyama took the penalty and missed it, as his effort ricocheted off the crossbar.
“The answer to that is no; we have four or five penalty takers,” Baxter said during the post-match press conference.
“When they’re on the field, and they say they don’t want to take it, I’ve got little control where that responsibility goes.
“I think we must listen to the players and the one that wants to take it; that’s where the responsibility should go.
“If it was me and I was on the field, if I were one of the players, I would have pushed Lebo away because he’s only just back at his first game from injury, and I don’t think it was fair to give him that responsibility if it was me on the field.
“But Lebo is a character, and Lebo gets on the ball and feels ‘I would score this’.”
On his teams performance, Baxter revealed that the score did not reflect his sides performance.
The 68-year-old Scotsman believes his team should have scored in the first half as they dominated Sundowns in the early minutes.
“I have to say we started the game very well. I think the first 20 minutes we dominated the game completely and as you say during those 20 minutes you have to score, because we did have good chances,” Baxter told SuperSport TV after the game.
“And then as a sort of cold shower came their goal. It was a very poor goal from our side. And it wasn’t reflective of the game at all.
“I think we went on the backfoot for 15 minutes and we waited for Sundowns to try and put balls behind our back three and then I think the last 15 minutes we got the game back in the first half.
“So, we go in 1-0 down but I think we’ve had the better share of the play.”
Baxter added: “We came out the second half, we changed the way we’re going to press them and suddenly they can’t get out and we’ve got them penned in. And then after 70 minutes, we conceded a goal. I still don’t know how we conceded it.
“It wasn’t great play; it was just someone twisting and getting himself to the by-line and crossed it and we didn’t deal with it. And then you’ve got to start chasing your own tail. And we lose our rhythm. But still, we’re not out the game and we miss a penalty.”
Chiefs move down to tenth place on the log and will next entertain Premiership newbies Royal AM on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 17:00.