Kaizer Chiefs (0) 1
Mamelodi Sundowns (0) 1
MTN8 Semi-Final first leg
FNB Stadium, Soweto
Amakhosi were cruelly denied a deserved victory by a last-gasp Mamelodi Sundowns equaliser in the first leg of the 2023 MTN8 semi-final, leaving all to play for in the return leg after the teams finished 1-1 at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
The Glamour Boys appeared set to take a lead, as well as a clean sheet, into the second leg after Edson Castillo had put them ahead on the hour mark. However, deep into added time, Khuliso Mudau popped up to restore equilibrium.
The first half saw little goalmouth action although no shortage of skill and effort, with both teams probing for weaknesses in their well-drilled opponents and much of the action being fought out in the middle third of the field.
The one chance of note fell to Lucas Ribeiro in the 38th minute, but his well-struck 20-yard shot was expertly repelled by Brandon Petersen to keep Amakhosi’s goal intact.
This came shortly after Sundowns skipper, Themba Zwane was stretchered off with a nasty cut to the eye, after accidentally catching Yusuf Maart’s boot during a typically competitive tussle for the ball.
Sundowns defender, Aubrey Modiba, already on a yellow, could consider himself fortunate to have stayed on the field after avoiding a second booking when he appeared to catch Pule Mmodi with an arm across the face in first half stoppage time, but referee, Skhumbuzo Gasa, chose to keep his cards in his pocket as the teams went into the break level at 0-0.
Amakhosi fans were given their first sight of Colombian striker, Jasond Gonzalez, when coach Molefi Ntseki introduced him at the start of the second half. The lanky 24-year-old made a nuisance of himself, occupying the Sundowns defence, allowing Mmodi, Tebogo Potsane and Ashley Du Preez to operate just behind him. The tactical shift paid off in the 60th minute when Du Preez swung in a wicked cross from the right and Castillo dived full length to meet it at the far post to flash a majestic header past Ronwen Williams for the opening goal.
Castillo was immense in midfield, alongside Maart, in battling for the ball and providing a protective shield for the back four, which had barely given Sundowns a sniff at goal all day.
Another sharp save by Petersen from Ribeiro was the closest The Brazilians came to a threat and it appeared that Ntseki had masterminded a memorable win.
Yet, three minutes into the six added by the referee at the end of the game, and with Sundowns throwing caution to the wind, Junior Mendieta swung in a hopeful cross and Mudau stole in on S’fiso Hlanti’s blind side to head past Petersen.
The result means that Chiefs will need to score in the second leg, which is scheduled for 23 September at Lucas Moripe stadium in Atteridgeville, as a 0-0 draw would see Sundowns through on the away goals rule.
Club football takes a break next week to accommodate the FIFA international window.
Kaizer Chiefs: Petersen © (1), Hlanti (23), Ditlhokwe (24), Msimango (25), Kwinika (4), Maart (8), Castillo (17), Mdantsane (3) (Gonzalez (14) 45’), Potsane (11) (Frosler (39) 78’), Mmodi (13) (Matlou (22) 78’), Du Preez (9) (Nj Ngcobo (27) 90+5)
Subs not used: Khune (32); Solomons (18), Shabalala (42), Radebe (33), Saile Basomboli (21)
Coach: Molefi Ntseki
Mamelodi Sundowns: Williams (32), Mudau (25) (Boutouil (13) 75’), Mabena (22),, Mvala (34), Coetzee (40) (Aubass (19) 75’), Mokoena (4), Modiba (17) (Mashego (14) 75’), Zwane © (18) (Nku (7) 37’), Allende (11), Maema (35) (Mendieta (15) 65’), Ribeiro Costa (23)
Subs not used: Onyango (1); Lebusa (5), Kekana (20), Mkhulise (21)
Coach: Rhulani Mokwena