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Football | MTN8

Nkosinathi Nhleko © Backpagepix

Perfect start for Chiefs’ MTN8 title defence

Man of the match Josta Dladla said his team took their chances after Kaizer Chiefs’ 3-1 win over BidVest Wits in the MTN8 quarterfinal at the Rand Stadium n Tuesday night.

That was certainly the difference on the night as the Amakhosi showed they were no mugs in front of goal and even Roger De Sa admitted, “We were outmanoeuvred tonight.”

It was a dream start for Vladimir Vermezovic’s men as his new forward signing, Nkosinathi Nhleko, put Chiefs in front in only the fourth minute of the match. The burly striker showed some superb technique when he picked the ball up on the edge of the 18-yard box, turned quickly and unleashed a finely placed shot into the bottom left-hand corner, 1-0.

The Rand stadium pitch looked in tip-top condition with the ball flying smoothly across the surface which made for a fast paced game. The players of both teams, however, looked to struggle with the speed with which the ball crossed the surface and this resulted in numerous passes going astray.

The Amakhosi were by far the more dominant side throughout the first 45 minutes despite Wits having more of the possession. Chiefs looked dangerous whenever they surged forward, often attacking down the flanks. Nhleko as the sole striker was in fine form and his experience was there for all to see as he provided inspiration for his new teammates and problems for his opponents.

Nhleko was physically very intimidating and he came close to grabbing his second goal of the night in the 32nd minute when he fired a powerful snapshot goalwards from just outside the 18-yard box, but Darren Keet was on hand this time diving to his right to deny the Amakhosi striker.

De Sa mentioned before the match that he had bolstered his front line saying, “We have brought the new signings in to provide some bite upfront.”

But his side were virtually non-existent as an attacking outfit in the first half; only a lapse in the concentration by the Chiefs defence allowed his new forward signing, Mark Haskins, to pull a goal back for the Students in the 43rd minute.

Calvin Kadi picked up the ball on the right flank and proceeded to drive in a powerful low cross which caught Valery Nahayo napping, and allowed Haskins to sneak in front of him to nudge the ball home from six yards out, scoring his first Wits goal on debut, 1-1.

In the second half the attacking guise of De Sa’s side was there for all to see as they pressed ahead and looked a lot more threatening going forward. The first sign of danger came in the 54th minute as Richards pulled the best out of the Amakhosi keeper Khune who had to dive full stretch to his right to tip Richards’s shot around the post for a corner-kick.

Six minutes later and this time it was Kadi who tested the Bafana international between the Chiefs uprights, but again Khune was up to the challenge, punching his powerful 18-yard shot over the cross bar for another corner-kick.

The Soweto Giants were a bit slow to settle in the second half, but once they did they started passing the ball around nicely and looked to regain control of the match. They were handed a great piece of fortune in the 70th minute when a blooper by the Clever Boys goalie allowed Chiefs to take the lead for the second time in the game.

David Mathebula let fly with a rather timid shot from 25 yards out, but as the ball dipped it found its way under the body of Keet and in the back of the net. Rather bewildered by the fact the ball found its way across the goal line, Mathebula was more than happy to celebrate his side’s second goal, 2-1.

The Students then laid siege on the Chiefs goal for the final ten minutes of the match which saw them strike the woodwork twice in a matter of minutes. First in the 81st minute Marwaan Bantam hit the right-hand up-right from a 30-yard free-kick with Khune stranded on his goal line. Then, two minutes later after a goalmouth scramble Haskins struck the crossbar.

In the end it was not the Clever Boys’ night and Chiefs rubbed salt into their opponents' wounds when they hit on the counter attack as Knoweldge Musona grabbed his first ever goal for Chiefs and his side’s third on the night, 3-1.

Although the Amakhosi were jittery in defence they managed the win and found their way into the semifinals of the MTN 8.

Kaizer Chiefs (1) 3 (Nhleko 4’, Mathebula 71’, Musona 94’)
BidVest Wits (1) 1 (Haskins 43’)


Chiefs: Khune; Molekwane, Sweswe, Nahayo, Masenamela, Masango, Ntuka, Mathebula, Nale (Musona 69’), Dladla, Nhleko (Motaung Jr 68’))

Wits: Keet; Morton, Winstanley, Mashamaite, Richards (Phungwayo 80’), Ramasoue (Yobue 61’), Haskins, Miller, Mngomezulu, Rodrigues (Bantam 77’), Kadi


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