English coach Stuart Baxter suffered a disappointing debut as Kaizer Chiefs coach today with Mamelodi Sundowns cruising to a 4-1 win in a season-opening South African Top 8 Cup quarter-final.
Baxter, a surprise close-season successor to Serb Vladimir Vermezovic given his mediocre records as South Africa and Finland coach, said his side must "lick their wounds and sharpen their knives" before the title race kicks off next weekend.
Clashes between Chiefs and Sundowns are traditionally close affairs, but this was the exception with a capacity 35,000 Loftus Versfeld crowd watching Sundowns take the lead on seven minutes and score four goals during the opening half.
Chiefs' new-look defence with South Africa trio Siboniso Gaxa, Morgan Gould and Eric Mathoho making their debuts was repeatedly exposed at set pieces leading to goals for Thamsanqa Sangweni, Tebogo Langerman and Cheeseboy Mokoena.
Edward Manqele added a fourth after a great run and cross from captain and man of the match Teko Modise before Chiefs' improved second-half showing produced a late Reneilwe Letsholonyane consolation goal.
Siyabonga Nomvethe, the 34-year-old leading Premiership scorer last season, claimed the match-clinching second goal as Moroka Swallows joined Sundowns in the semi-finals with a 2-0 home victory over AmaZulu in Soweto.