Kaizer Chiefs’ reserve side were stunned by Orlando Pirates by pulling off a last minute 2-2 draw in the last match of the MultiChoice Diski Challenge match festival on Sunday at the Sinaba stadium.
The two teams took some time to settle into their rhythm with half chances in the opening twenty minutes of play that produced very little in terms of risks.
The first chance of the match fell to Pirates, who were busy down the right flank with Ricardo Lourenco. They received a free-kick just on the edge of the Chiefs box. The stalky midfielder hit the resultant free-kick straight to goalkeeper Bruce Bvuma, who was well positioned to make an easy save.
Despite a slow start from both sides, the game eventually came to life when Chiefs took the lead in the 22nd minute.
Amakhosi’s Itumeleng Shopane pounced on a defensive mistake from Yusuf Maart in the Pirates backline to slot the ball past the helpless Tsotetsi in the Pirates goal, 1-0.
The Buccaneers tried to bounce back immediately when Lourenco’s well-taken corner had to be flicked over the bar by Bvuma to keep the Glamour Boys in the lead.
Following the goal from Shopane, Chiefs grew in confidence and dominated play thanks to the creativity of Nkosingiphile Ngcobo and Mpho Khumalo in the heart of midfield that was a handful for the Pirates defence.
Chiefs’ pressure eventually paid off when they extended the lead through Siyabonga Ngcobo, who was quick to react following a goalmouth scramble inside the Pirates box, 2-0. The goal was in the end ruled as an own goal by the referee, but Ngcobo had done all the hard work.
Amakhosi’s dominance in midfield was there for all to see as Ngcobo and Khumalo combined again. The latter receive the ball on the edge of the box, but with only the ‘keeper to beat put his effort wide off target.
With five minutes to go before the break, Chiefs were punished for their relaxed approach when Pirates hit back through Yusuf Maart, who redeemed himself from his earlier mistake, with a well taken free-kick from just outside the Chiefs box which beat Bvuma on his left to make the score 2-1.
Despite the goal from the Buccaneers, Amakhosi continued to pile on the pressure and almost made it three in the 43rd minute when Khumalo did well to turn his marker on the edge of the box. His shot toward goal, however, went inches over the bar. It was 2-1 at the break for Chiefs.
It took twelve minutes to get the first chance of the second half when Ngezana sneaked past his marker to connect with Ngcobo’s free kick on the far post; unfortunately for him he was adjudged to be offside.
Pirates pushed for the equaliser in the 61st minute when substitute Lebohang Sentsho unleashed a shot from outside the box that went inches over the bar.
The game quickly turned into Chiefs’ favour in the 69th minute when Wiseman Meyiwa did well to intercept a ball outside the Pirates box and without hesitation unleashed a shot from the edge of the box that just missed the target.
During the second half Chiefs were presented with quite a few chances to put the game away, but some indecisiveness in the last third let them down.
The best chance to put the game away came with twelve minutes left on the clock when Thato Khiba did well to spot the on rushing Monamodi, picking him out with an inch perfect through ball towards goal. The latter, however, failed to react quickly and was dispossessed by Hlongwa in the Pirates backline.
With two minutes left on the clock Chiefs were made to pay for their sloppy play at the back after Hlongwa was left unmarked on the far post to send his side into raptures, 2-2.
And that is how it ended with Chiefs moving to 18 points.
Key moment in the match:
That has to be the quickness from Shopane to react to the mistake by the Pirates defence to get Amakhosi’s first goal of the match. The goal enabled Arthur Zwane’s men to settle into their game plan and from there on dominate proceedings with their impressive passing game.
The return of Nkosingiphile Ngcobo from the National Under-20 side was well received and you could tell with his commanding display in the heart of midfield.
Kaizer Chiefs XI: Bruce Bvuma, Given Thibedi, Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya, Siyabonga Ngezana, Sibongiseni Ngcobo, Wiseman Meyiwa, Mpho Khumalo (Tshidiso Monamodi 70nd), Nkosingiphile Ngcobo ©, McCoy Sithole, Itumeleng Shopane (Yusuf Bunting 73rd), Thato Khiba
Bench: Gerhard Phafuli, Yusuf Bunting, Tshidiso Monamodi, Happy Mashiane, Solomon Khopotse
Kaizer Chiefs’ reserve team will now travel to The City of Roses next weekend where they will take on a much-improved Bloemfontein Celtic. The match will be part of the Asidlali festival that will take place at the Dr Molemela Stadium on Sunday, 22 January 2017.