Chiefs see off SuperSport
Knowledge Musona (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - A stunning goal two minutes from time from Zimbabwean international striker Knowledge Musona earned Kaizer Chiefs a hard fought 2-1 win over SuperSport United in a pulsating Nedbank Cup first round clash played at a rain soaked Rand Stadium on Sunday.
It was justice for Amakhosi who lifted the Telkom Knockout trophy last weekend, and were on top for most of this intriguing cup-tie.
But the depleted United side never gave up and fought to the bitter end in a clash between two of the country's top clubs.
The star of the first half was United goalkeeper Denis Onyango who pulled off two brilliant saves to keep his side in the match at a stage when Chiefs threatened to stream roll the Premier Soccer League champions.
The Ugandan international made amends for letting in a howler and allowing AmaZulu to beat United 2-1 in a recent Telkom Knockout game by turning in a five-star display against Chiefs.
Amakhosi paid the price for not taking their chances after dominating most of the opening 45 minutes.
The overcast and wet conditions made the pitch slippery and had the fans in the 20 000-crowd rushing for cover. Fighting between overworked security officials and fans broke out at half-time when supporters tried to push into the covered stands that were already overflowing. The start of the second half was delayed for 15 minutes while PSL security got matters under control.
SuperSport coach Gavin Hunt dropped his stand-in captain Thabo September, who was blamed for AmaZulu's first goal in the Knockout cup clash, and surprised by promoting Thandani Ntshumayelo to captain on Sunday. It was an early birthday present for the Helbron-born midfielder who turns 20 on Tuesday.
Onyango pulled off his first save when he threw himself at a powerful volley from Knowledge Musona that had goal written all over it in the 14th minute after a superb cross from Mthokozisi Yende.
Five minutes later Amakhosi winger Abia Nale took advantage of the hesitant United defence but his shot screamed past the post.
Onyango again came to the rescue when he pulled off a magnificent point blank save from Mandla Masango in the 37th minute.
It was all Chiefs until the league champions won a free kick deep inside Chiefs territory in the 43rd minute. Daine Klate started a well worked training ground set piece by laying off the ball to Hlompho Kekana whose cross was squeezed home from close range by Lethladi Madubanya to give United the lead against the run of play. The well rehearsed free kick had tall striker Anthony Laffor putting Amakhosi keeper Arthur Bartman under pressure and it worked.
Both sets of players struggled to control the ball on the wet pitch after the long break.
The pressure Chiefs exerted, however, paid off in the 64th minute when Nale laid off a defence splitting pass to Yende who rifled his shot into the far corner of the net giving Onyango no chance.
The goal lifted the fans and the Chiefs players and as a result they had United on the back foot.
But United weathered the storm and were denied a second goal by two successive saves form Bartman in the 72nd minute. The Chiefs keeper did well to block a good effort from Klate, and from the rebound managed to clear Laffor's close range shot.
United midfielder Tebogo Langerman was centimetres wide of the target from a Klate corner in the 78th minute, and within a minute Nale crashed a powerful shot off the upright with Onyango well beaten.
Onyango did well to pouch a Valery Nahayo header inside his six yard area four minutes from time. But with extra time looming it was all over when Musona blasted home the winner from an acute angle in the 88th minute to take Chiefs into the second round. The draw will be made in Johannesburg on Monday morning.
Other Nedbank Cup results:
Ajax Cape Town 5 Wings United 0 - Boland Rugby Stadium, Wellington
Parkurst 1 Winners Park 3 - Erica Park, Cape Town
Island FC 1 Mamelodi Sundowns 3 - Ulundi Stadium, Ulundi
SuperSport United 1 Kaizer Chiefs 2 - Rand Stadium, Johannesburg
kapa Sporting 1 FC Cape Town 2 - Ajax Ikamva, Cape Town
FC Royals 2 Mpumalanga Black Aces 2 (Aces win 5-3 on penalties) - Sisa Dukashe Stadium, Mdantsane