Chiefs tame Leopards
Lehlohonolo Majoro (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Lehlohonolo Majoro scored all four goals as Kaizer Chiefs tamed on-form Black Leopards, crushing them 4-0 in Polokwane on Saturday night to advance to the Nedbank Cup quarter-final stage.
The Chiefs striker had notched up a hat-trick inside the first 16 minutes as the hosts proved no match for his offensive combination with strike partner Bernard Parker and talisman Siphiwe Tshabalala, who was captain in the fixture.
The Bafana Bafana capped trio combined well for Majoro's opener in the ninth minute, before Tshabalala laid the foundation for the brace in the 12th minute.
The former AmaZulu player completed the third goal, taking advantage of a spilled ball by goalkeeper Azwindini Maphaha four minutes later to leave Leopards shell shocked as they took the margin into the break.
The fourth came after more hard work from Parker and Tshabalala in the 52nd minute as Majoro netted his 13th overall goal of the season.
Majoro was duly taken off three minutes later and rested for S'thembiso Ngcobo, with Chiefs conserving him ahead of the gruesome Premiership campaign ahead where they are also in line for honours.
However, the wounded Leopards defence won't be impressed since both sides will meet again on Tuesday, this time in the league, at FNB Stadium on Tuesday.
Chiefs had spotted notable changes, with the exclusion of injured captain Itumeleng Khune and benched Tinashe Nemgomasha, while Abia Nale got a rare start.
Conversely Leopards had given themselves a chance before their bubble was burst, by the clinical Soweto giants and renowned cup specialists, based on their preceding league form that has given them relegation survival hopes.
They also have had a fairy tale run in the CAF Confederations Cup, beating Democratic Republic of Congo's Saint Eloi Lupopo 4-2 in the first leg first round tie last weekend.
Ironically, Lidoda Duvha had started off sprightly with the first chance of the game with their captain Mongezi Bobe heading narrowly wide of goal from a corner kick in the third minute before the Chiefs rebuttal.
Bobe forced another effort after 35 minutes with his snap shot sailing harmlessly wide of goal as Amakhosi kept control of their first-half before Nale fashioned a shot on the edge of the box for Chiefs moments later that went wide of goal.
Leopards made a change to their midfield personnel bringing on Davie Banda for the inept Itumeleng Duiker shortly before the break, as they got another chance with Arthur Bartman's out stretched leg, thwarting a David Zulu shot inside the box.
Amakhosi were in cruise control in the second-half as they found a fourth goal and made a late surge for the fifth.
Leopards, meanwhile, saw Banda attempting a shot that failed to trouble Bartman in goal.
Substitute George Lebese and Tshabalala had their opportunities in front of goal, while Ngcobo nearly forced an own-goal from Ernort Dzaga, from a powerful shot on the edge of the box.
The game culminated with another substitute Mandla Masango making a poor decision, attempting to curl in a goal when he had numbers running in to the box in a counter-attack.