Kaizer Chiefs produced a blistering performance particularly in the second half of their MTN8 quarterfinal clash against Maritzburg United on a hot Sunday afternoon at the FNB Stadium.
The clash saw Chiefs come from a goal down to win the game and set up a semifinal clash with town rivals Orlando Pirates.
Thabiso Kutumela put Maritzburg ahead in the first half, but a brace from Yagan Sasman in two second half minutes turned the game in Chiefs favour as they started the 2020-21 season. The win sees the Glamour Boys march on into the MTN8 semi-finals.
In the 17th minute, Itumeleng Khune made a save from close range after the referee had allowed play to go on when assistant referee Shaun Olive lifted his flag for an offside call in favour of Chiefs, but referee Luxolo Badi allowed play to go on. A long ball bounced over Judas Moseamedi who was offside – he left the ball to Thabiso Kutumela, who was able to run onto the ball and fired it goal wards. Khune was able to block the ball, Daniel Cardoso was on hand to clear the rebound.
Kutumela fired Maritzburg into the lead in the 35th minute. Chiefs lost possession of the ball on the halfway line and a ball over the Chiefs defence by Keagan Buchanan sent Kutumela on his way as he chased down the ball he brought it under control with his knee. Once into the Chiefs 18-yard area, he drove the ball low from the left across goal past Cardoso and then beyond the outstretched arm of Khune, to put the visitors 1-0 up.
Chiefs were looking for a way back into the game with an immediate response, and almost found the back of the net in the 37th minute when Yagan Sasman tested Bongani Mpandle with a powerfully driven effort at goal. With half time approaching, Khune made a brave save as he came off his line to stop Moseamedi’s cross from the right finding Bongokuhle Hlongwane. A minute before the end of the first half, Hlongwane crashed the ball on to the cross bar after being played into space by Daylon Claasen.
Maritzburg went into the break 1-0 up.
Chiefs used the half time break to make a double substitution with Leonardo Castro and Njabulo Blom replacing Lazalous Kambole and Anthony Akumu Agay.
Chiefs were quickest out of the block in the second half and came inches close from finding parity. in the first minute of the second half, a long clearance from Reeve Frosler found Bernard Parker on the edge of the Maritzburg 18 yard area, he was able to push the ball to his left. Despite the attention of Daniel Morgan, he was able to on the half volley connect powerfully with the ball which sailed past Mpandle. There was reprieve for Maritzburg as the ball hit the right hand up right.
In the 51st minute Parker went close again with another effort on goal after Chiefs had launched an attack on the Maritzburg goal. He sent his effort from close by agonisingly wide of Mpandle’s goal. Parker was at the heart of the attack again in the 58th minute as he battled hard against the Maritzburg defenders before managing to unleash a shot a goal, which again went narrowly wide of the target.
On 68th minute, the wood work was to deny Chiefs again. An attack by Amakhosi eventually saw Khama Billiat tee up Blom, whose effort from the edge of the Maritzburg 18-yard area hit Claasen and looped up over Mpandle and bounced back off the crossbar.
Chiefs’ pressure eventually came to fruition in the 73rd minute when a beautifully weighted corner from Billiat on the left floated to the opposite end, evading all of Maritzburg’s defenders before falling to Yagan Sasman, who knocked the ball home to draw Chiefs level. Two minutes later, in a copycat move Chiefs went ahead. Another corner by Billiat, this time from the right again evaded the Maritzburg defenders and flew to the back post where Sasman rose to head the ball past Mpandle to put Chiefs 2-1 up.
Chiefs scored a third through Castro in the 80th minute, but Shaun Olive called the goal off for offside. Replays did show that it was not a correct decision. Mpandle made a save from Billiat from close range in the final minute of the game. In the end it did not make a difference as Chiefs battled hard and showed grit and determination to overcome their early setback as they begin life under new head coach Gavin Hunt with a 2-1.
A draw conducted on Sunday night pitted Chiefs against Orlando Pirates in MTN8’s two-legged semi-finals.
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