Kaizer Chiefs are “going through tough times and sticking together”, coach Gavin Hunt insists, acknowledging he was relieved his team did not set an unwanted record of nine matches without a win with their 2-0 victory over Petro de Luanda on Saturday.
Chiefs‚ playing in their first Caf Champions League group stage‚ got their first win at that level against the Angolan outfit at FNB Stadium.
Amakhosi were nowhere near perfect, and nor would you expect them to be after eight league and cup matches without a win. But they plugged away industriously at a pedestrian Petro and earned good goals by Erick Mathoho and Happy Mashiane.
In so doing, Hunt’s men avoided equalling their longest winless league and cup run of nine matches‚ and at the same time bounced back from last Sunday’s 4-0 defeat to Wydad Casablanca in Burkina Faso, getting their group C campaign back on track.
“You don’t want to be lumbered with those things. But it is what it is‚” Hunt‚ the master of understatement who has never given much stock to records‚ said when asked about avoiding the nine-match record.
“You know‚ we’re going through tough times and we’re sticking together‚ and it hasn’t been easy‚” he said. “I know the reasons why‚ but so be it. We’ve all got to stick together and we’ve all got a belief‚ and we’ve got to show it. Even in the defeats we’ve gone right to the end.”
Chiefs put in a good shift and deserved the win.
“I thought we were good‚” Hunt said. “It was a little frustrating at times because I didn’t think we got rewarded for some good play. But the most important thing was to try to win the game.
“The turning point was to score. Because even though last week the scoreline was 4-0, we still had some good opportunities‚ which we didn’t take. And then we played Horoya here [0-0] before that and we all saw what happened there [with a goal incorrectly overruled].
“So it looked like another night when it wasn’t going to come‚ and on a difficult pitch. The ball was coming off the pitch very quickly‚ and we’re not used to that.”
Chiefs‚ languishing in 10th place in the Premier Soccer League‚ will hope a win in the Champions League can again spur some form in the league when they meet Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday.
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