Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter praised his side for their come-from-behind victory over Moroka Swallows in an Absa Premiership derby clash at the Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday.
Speaking after his side’s 3-1 victory against the Birds on Saturday, Baxter said he was pleased with the way his team rallied to bounce back from a goal down, and go into the half-time break level at 1-1.
"I was enormously pleased with performance.
VIDEO: Swallows v Chiefs, highlights
"In the first half we took a little bit of time to find our feet and Swallows threw everything at us and got themselves in front, it was a real mental test for the players," he said.
However, the result was not without controversy.
Swallows were awarded a penalty in the 26th minute, after referee Buyile Gqubule adjudged Itumeleng Khune to have hacked down Lerato Chabangu.
The Amakhosi skipper was booked, before Swallows striker Katlego Mashego took the penalty and scored, but Gqubule ordered two retakes, after he adjudged that the Birds players had stepped inside the box before the kicks were taken.
Mashego scored the first retake, but Siyabonga Nomvethe was adjudged to have entered the box and was booked. Khune then denied Mashego at the third attempt, something which got Swallows coach Zeca Marques irate.
"I told the players that we are not only playing against Chiefs today, there are other external factors that we had to care of," Marques said.
"When you play a game with external factors, it becomes difficult. At the end of the day there are a lot of things that can be attributed to external factors, so it’s difficult. We knew it was going to be a battle, but I didn’t know it would be a war."
Baxter admitted that, had Swallows scored the penalty, it could have turned out differently, as it would have been difficult for his side claw their way back into the game.
"The penalty was a massive point in the game for us, to go two down would have been difficult for us," Baxter said.
"When we got the equaliser, that was when we started to play more of the football that we have been playing all year, I was really proud of our second half performance."
Meanwhile, Marques refused to shoulder the blame or even shift it to the players, who he said had given their all, but were let down by the referee.
"It was a great performance by both teams, I can’t ask for more," Marques said.
"When you give everything like we did today, you're playing good football, creating chances and there other factors contributing to your result, you can’t blame the players or myself for that."
The defeat leaves Swallows ninth, a point ahead of the University of Pretoria. Chiefs stretched their lead to six points as they close in on the title.