Home Sport Chiefs hope for more Parker magic against AmaZulu

Chiefs hope for more Parker magic against AmaZulu

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Stuart Baxter, head coach of Kaizer Chiefs. Picture: Muzi Ntombela, BackpagePix

Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter will hope Bernard Parker is at his best again when they face AmaZulu at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.

CAPE TOWN – After Bernard Parker spared Kaizer Chiefs’ blushes with a match-winning header against Maritzburg United, coach Stuart Baxter has called for more of the same against erratic AmaZulu at the FNB Stadium on Wednesday evening.

It’s too early to say Chiefs have turned the corner after a sluggish start to the season because they could easily have come a cropper against a resolute Maritzburg side last Sunday.

A set-piece provided the platform for Parker to weave his magic with a diving header after a Reeve Frosler corner kick, which was reeled out to Keagan Dolly.

Parker met Dolly’s kick with a low dive in the penalty box and steered the header through the outstretched hands of Maritzburg’s German goalkeeper Marcel Engelhardt.

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“I am really pleased we’re starting to score goals from set plays, and I think the win was thoroughly deserved,” said Baxter. “The first 20 minutes of the first half, we played better.

“The second 20 minutes was very passive, very stretched out. So, if you compare it to the second half, we were more compact, more aggressive, more active. We looked like we were going to score. A big difference.

“We weren’t as brave either with the ball or our pressing.”

Baxter said that Sunday’s pre-match disruptions were hugely distracting for both teams after the flood lighting failed to switch on ahead of the 5.30pm kick-off.

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“It was really difficult because of the delay and having to sit around in the dressing rooms. There were three different warm-ups We were getting food to the players, so the energy levels don’t go down,” said Baxter.

Sunday’s match marked the long-awaited return of Colombian striker Leonardo Castro who made his first appearance for Chiefs in six months.

He came on as a late substitute but was nevertheless happy to join the fray against Maritzburg.

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“It feels great to be back on the field,” he said “I was missing my teammates and being on the field, it was a tough time because the worst part of the injury was the recovery.

“I kept my patience and needed to be mentally strong to get back into the team as soon as possible.

“Now, I have managed to get back, and I want to continue to work hard and improve my game every day.

He said he realised it would be difficult for him to command a regular starting slot.

“It is difficult because the season is on already, and for me, there was no time to do a pre-season or friendly games or get into the rhythm,” said Castro.

“It was quite difficult, but I am going to work hard to help my team.

“We have a strong squad. Almost all the players are available for selection, which is a good point for us.

“With these games coming in the week and on the weekend, we are going to need everybody.

Baxter may likely give Castro another second-half run on Wednesday against AmaZulu, who were held to a draw by high-flying Stellenbosch over the weekend.

@Herman_Gibbs

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