Barker: Stellies delivered a spirited performance

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  • Post published:February 27, 2024

Stellenbosch FC coach Steve Barker was pleased with his side’s “spirited performance” to overcome Pretoria Callies in the Nedbank Cup round of 32.

The Maroons advanced to the next round of the competition after they secured a 4-3 victory on penalties against the Motsepe Foundation Championship outfit after the game ended 1-1 after regulation time.

Stellies will now take on Motsepe Foundation Championship side Milford FC in the round of 16 after they defeated Kaizer Chiefs in a shootout on Sunday.

Barker believes his side were the better team and they deserved the win but credited their opponents for putting in a good shift on the day.

“Firstly, I want to congratulate Pretoria Callies,” Barker said. “I thought they came with a really good attitude and delivered a spirited performance, they didn’t make it easy for us.

“They didn’t allow us any space. They were aware that we like to have that space in behind to attack and didn’t really allow us to have it, so credit must go to them for staying in the game and taking it to the wire with the late equaliser.

“If truth be told, we were the better team in my opinion, we created a lot of chances. Deano van Rooyen was in behind and just needed to pick a corner, and then we subsequently hit the post. We had a lot of box entries and opportunities and didn’t really have too much to deal with at the other end.

“I believe we deserved to win the game in the end based on the balance of play.

He added: “What is pleasing in a sense is that these games are always tricky. It’s not easy to play teams from a lower division because they come here with nothing to lose. Players want to showcase their abilities and come with a lot of fight and spirit.

“If you don’t get that second or third goal, you give the opposition hope and we gave them hope and they took their opportunity. Going to penalties is always, it can always go either way, but we’ve been working really hard on our penalty shootouts after losing a few in the past.

“We’ve made it a point that we will be as best prepared as we can be for penalties, so went into the shootout with confidence.

“What I’m seeing about the team currently is that we are finding ways to win football matches. That’s important, even if you’re not at your best like against Callies where we weren’t clinical, to find ways to win.

“The most important thing is to get into the next round, because once you’re in the next round there are only 16 teams left and then there’s no reason not to attempt to go all the win in the Nedbank Cup,” he concluded.

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