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SuperSport's Stuart Baxter relieved to beat Royal Eagles in Nedbank Cup

Posted: 16 March 2017 Time: 10:22

SuperSport United coach Stuart Baxter was relieved the Nedbank Cup champions saw off second-tier outfit Royal Eagles in the last-32 of the event on the back of a taxing CAF assignment.

SuperSport beat the promotion hopefuls 2-1 on Wednesday night, having lost 3-2 at Al Ahly Shendy in a Confederation Cup tie in Sudan on Sunday evening.

"You take any league in the world and any cup in the world and you get the team that is on top, near top let's say in the Premier League and playing against the team near the top of the Championship (NFD), you got a tough game on your hands away from home," Baxter told reporters.

"It's a tough game on your hands. We know Royal Eagles play a game that is high risk and it's bump and run, it's bump and run, bump and run. Sometimes it looks great sometimes they give you the ball.

"So we scored and we could have maybe scored one or two more but you just got to be happy with the fact that we negotiated our way through a difficult game into the next round, especially given the fact that we just had a trip to Sudan of which was 19 hours there and 19 hours back. I thought the lads really pitched up tonight."

While Eagles made nine team changes in light of a crucial NFD fixture with FC Cape Town this weekend, Baxter fielded a strong outfit at Harry Gwala Stadium.

"Well, it was a strong team of course. We had a team where we rested a few when we went to Sudan. So the players that carried the heavy slog in Sudan didn't play tonight and it would've been impossible," added the former Kaizer Chiefs coach.

"And we knew that and that is why we rested a few. We had a few on the bench; Jeremy Brockie and 'Kingy' [Kingston Nkhatha] went for the last 15 minutes or 20 minutes in Sudan, 'Masha' [Tefu Mashamaite] had to play in Sudan, Mario [Booysen] had to play in Sudan.

"But we tried to get a bit of a mix that we knew we will be strong to get through this one. It's one more hurrah on the weekend when we will try to knock the Sudanese off the perch again.

"So I'll just recuperate the players the best we can and pick the strongest team we can put on the field. I'm sure whoever I pick will give it a run."

Baxter is sweating over the fitness of Mario Booysen ahead of this weekend's rematch with Shendy after he suffered a suspected hamstring strain against Eagles. Fellow defender Clayton Daniels is still out injured, while Morgan Gould played 45 minutes against Shendy in the previous contest.

Article by: Robin-Duke Madlala
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