Absa Premiership

Barker disappointed with draw

2013-04-21 13:12
Steve Barker (Backpage)

Pretoria - University of Pretoria coach Steve Barker is disappointed not to have picked up a victory against Free State Stars during their meeting in an Absa Premiership clash in Pretoria on Saturday.

Instead, the teams were forced to share the spoils after Anver Esterhuizen broke the deadlock in the 29th minute, before Senegalese striker Mame Niang cancelled the opener with his 59th minute left-footed strike.

"It's one of the few times I'll say that I'm a bit disappointed," Barker said at a wet and icy Tuks Stadium.

"Other results at home and draws have been quite pleasing. I just felt that today we had an opportunity to get three points against a team that hasn't been on form."

Barker had singled out the game in midweek - after AmaTuks' 1-1 stalemate with Mamelodi Sundowns - and believed Tuks needed the victory to consolidate their good showing against the Brazilians.

However, he was left disappointed after conceding, which forced the university outfit to have to fight back for the draw.

"It's the third game in a row now that we've gone 1-0 down and we showed character to come back," Barker said.

"We just need to ensure that we don't give these types of goals away when we are in charge and dominating the game.

"They sat deep, allowed us a lot of possession and we took advantage of that by getting the equaliser."

Barker said he and his technical staff had spoken to the players earlier in the season, and had emphasised the importance of fighting back to salvage points after conceding first.

"We realised that when we did concede first, players' shoulders would drop and the heads would drop and our response wasn't very good," Barker said.

"We had a big chat when we had a break in the league, and we worked a lot on the mindset in terms of, 'you are going to go down in football, what is the response?'

"We've learnt against AmaZulu (last weekend), against Sundowns and again today, that if we do go 1-0 down, we've got the character to respond."

Meanwhile, Stars boss Steve Komphela, whose side missed an opportunity to climb up the table, said he was pleased to have earned a point away from home, particularly after a difficult stretch of games.

"From our side, in the dying minutes of the match, you could see in our legs, they were starting to give in," Komphela said.

"We battled, we fought for it and I'm happy with the point, I'll go home and add it to the 33 we have.

"We tried. I requested the performance that we gave against Orlando Pirates.

"But today, we came down a bit. It could be fatigue because we never trained (after the Pirates game)."

Having taken the lead and absorbed plenty of pressure throughout, Komphela said he was unhappy with the way in which Stars conceded and allowed Tuks back into the game.

Komphela's defensive unit was guilty of ball-watching, which allowed Senegalese striker Mame Niang to pick up a ball played over the top of the Stars defence, which Niang hit first time, sending his effort beyond Mweene for a composed finish and his ninth Premiership goal of the season.

"We went to sleep. It's about awareness," he said.

"Strikers are learned minds, and as soon as the ball came, he struck us... we shouldn't have allowed that."

In Saturday's other results, Bernard Parker scored a brace as log-leaders Kaizer Chiefs ousted Soweto neighbours Moroka Swallows 3-1 at the Dobsonville Stadium.

Second-placed Platinum Stars dropped points when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Chippa United at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

Wits secured a 2-0 away win over Ajax Cape Town at the Athlone Stadium to climb to fourth in the Premiership standings.

Read more on:    tuks  |  psl  |  steve barker  |  soccer

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