Free Stars Stars beat Kaizer Chiefs 6-5 on penalties to reach the Telkom Knockout semifinals. It was an enthralling encounter between the two sides at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The game finished in a two-all scoreline after extra time.
Ea Lla Koto scored the game’s opener early in the first half, but Edmore Chirambadare scored the equaliser in the 83rd minute. Stars again scored first in extra time, while Erick Mathoho headed in the 2-2.
Amakhosi coach Steve Komphela made four changes compared to Wednesday’s goalless draw against Baroka FC.
Daniel Cardoso came in to partner Willard Katsande in midfield with the others being George Maluleka, Michelle Katsvairo and Bernard Parker.
The Glamour Boys easily beat Ea Lla Koto 2-0 in an Absa Premiership back in September, thanks to goals from Willard Katsande (penalty) and Michelle Katsvairo.
This cup match, however, was a different matter.
It was a rainy day in Durban with the pitch being very wet. But the weather conditions didn’t bother the Chiefs fans who again came to the game in great numbers, enthusiastically supporting the team.
Stars started in an attacking mode, getting an early goal in the 9th minute when left-back Bokang Thlone tucked inside before curling the ball with his right past Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.
Thereafter, however, the home side got more and more into the encounter, having most of the ball possession and creating numerous goal scoring opportunities. Ramahlwe Mphahlele, for example, was unlucky that his header just went wide of goal.
Shortly thereafter, it looked as if the Free State goalkeeper caught Siphiwe Tshabalala’s legs in the box, but referee Victor Hlungwani decided not to give a penalty. To be fair, television replays showed that the referee probably made the right call.
Other chances came for Parker and Katsvairo (twice), but the ball just didn’t want to find the back of the Stars net.
Positive, however, was that Amakhosi completely dominated the majority of the first half.
The second started more or less like the first. Another great opportunity came Tshabalala’s way, but his header was well saved by former Chiefs goalkeeper Thela Ngobeni. The quality cross was delivered from the right by Mphahlele, who had a fine match.
Coach Komphela decided to make a tactical change in the 61th minute, bringing on William Twala for Mphahlele.
Parker also had a good game, making numerous unselfish off-the-ball runs.
Chiefs kept on pushing to get the equaliser.
Finally, in the 83rd minute, the deserved goal arrived thanks to a scorcher from inside the box from substitute Chirambadare.
No more goals were scored, which meant that the cup match had to go to extra time.
It continued to be an enthralling affair. A set-back, however, was Stars’ goal, against the run of play, in the 98th minute via Thokozani Sekotlong.
Chirambadare looked to have another equaliser on his foot, after some good work by fellow Zimbabwean Katsvairo, but he failed to hit the target from close range.
The goal arrived though in the 109th minute with Erick Mathoho heading in a well-taken free kick from the left side past the Stars goalkeeper.
In the end, penalties had to decide the winner.
Katsande, Cardoso, Chirambadare, Katsvairo and Maluleka scored from the spot, but the shots from Lorenzo Gordinho and Twala were saved by Free State’s goalkeeper Thela Ngubeni, who was selected as the Man of the Match.
It was an undeserved loss, but it means that Amakhosi are out of the Telkom Knockout.
Chiefs next face Mamelodi Sundowns on the road in an Absa Premiership match at Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, 19 November (kick-off is at 15:30).
Kaizer Chiefs (0) 2 (Chirambadare 83’, Mathoho 109’)
Free State Stars (1) 2 (Tlhone 9’, Sekotlong 98’)
Free State Stars beat Kaizer Chiefs 6-5 on penalties.
Kaizer Chiefs: Khune; Mphahlele (Twala 61’), Mathoho, Gordinho, Masilela (Khumalo 63’); Tshabalala, Katsande, Cardoso, Parker (Chirambadare 70’); Maluleka, Katsvairo
Free State Stars: Ngobeni; Mbhele, Masehe (Booysen 46’), Nkausu, Tlhone (Ella Ken 90’); Mobbie (Mashego 74’), Dlamini, Vilikazi, Venter; Sekotlong, Sekola