3 April 2021
Kaizer Chiefs: (0) 1 (Parker 48’)
Wydad: (0) 0
Kaizer Chiefs ended their Group C encounter in the CAF Champions League against Wydad Casablanca with nine men after Daniel Akpeyi was sent off late in the first half and Samir Nurković in the final minute of the game at the FNB Stadium on Saturday evening. Both players got their marching orders in controversial circumstances. The important part of the game though was the result which saw Amakhosi win 1-0 against all odds to keep up their hopes of progressing to the knockout rounds, with Bernard Parker heading home the game’s only goal in the 48th minute.
Chiefs began the game defending deep and had to be alert as Wydad attacked them down the wings. it took some stellar defending to keep the visitors at bay, particularly Siyabonga Ngezana who made a timely interception to push the ball out for a corner early on.
Chiefs began to find their footing and a cross from Bernard Parker in the 8th minute had goalie Aissa Sioudi using his head to clear away the danger. A minute on, Lebogang Manyama tried his luck with a rasping drive at goal, but he dragged his effort wide of goal.
Chiefs were beginning to press their dominance on the game and with the Wydad players acting up, as they tried to slow the game down. Chiefs did manage to conjure up a great goal scoring chance in the 19th minute with a corner from the left by Parker that saw Sioudi come out to punch away which he failed to do. The ball fell to Daniel Cardoso at the far post and as the ball came to him, he lost his footing and the ball got stuck between his legs and Wydad were able to deal with the danger.
Daniel Akpeyi had not been tested much until the 36th minute when he was at full stretch to make a vital interception, stopping a cross from the right hand by line trying to pick out a Wydad attacker inside the Chiefs six- yard box. In the 38th minute a Chiefs’ corner from the right by Nkosingiphile Ngcobo saw Sioudi come out and miss the ball which eventually fell to Parker. His header at goal was unfortunately cleared off the line.
Five minutes before half time, Chiefs were reduced to ten men. Goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi went out of his 18-yard area to collect a long ball over the top down the left, as the ball went towards him he backtracked and misjudged where he was standing. He plucked the ball out of the air and to his disbelief, Egyptian referee Ibrahim Nour pulled out a red card. Akpeyi was replaced by Itumeleng Khune.
From the resulting free-kick, Sofian Moudane curled the ball over the Chiefs wall and was rising on its way towards goal and grazed against Khune’s right hand up right as it went out for a goal kick, the first half dominated by Chiefs ended 0-0.
Despite ending the first half on the back-foot, Chiefs began the second half in the best possible way. Khune got Chiefs attacking with a sweeping throw to Ngcobo, who raced up the left wing. He put the ball into the danger zone and could only be headed upwards by Amine Farhane. It then fell back invitingly for Parker, who headed the ball past a lunging Sioudi across goal to give Chiefs a 1-0 lead in the 48th minute.
In the 54th minute, after Chiefs failed to properly clear their lines, Zouheir El Moutaraji sent the ball narrowly wide from close range.
Khune made a brave save at the feet of El Moutaraji in the 68th minute, as he came at the feet of the Wydad attacker to thwart him and keep Chiefs in front. Three minutes on, Khune was at his acrobatic best turning a powerfully driven shot from a long way out over his cross bar for a corner from Mohamed Rahim.
With Wydad seemingly frustrated as they were headed for a defeat, their acting was taken up a notch. Due to another act of simulation, Samir Nurković unfairly sent off in the final minute as he and Farhane challenged for an aerial ball. The Wydad defender fell and rolled over conning the referee into thinking that there had been contact between him and the Chiefs player. Nurković, who was cautioned earlier in the game was given his marching orders.
Chiefs finished the game with nine men and held on for three valuable points against a Wydad team who had clearly not come to Johannesburg to play fair. They looked to hold up the game at every turn but in the end, Chiefs picked up three points. This means that a win or a draw with goals in their final game against Horoya will see them progress to the Quarterfinals.
Number of the Match:
Bernard Parker’s goal was Chiefs 50th in the CAF Champions league since their first which was scored by Eric September against Gunners of Botswana in a Preliminary Round first leg win in 1993.
Fact of the game:
Chiefs kept their 8th clean sheet of the 2020-21 CAF Champions League campaign. This means Amakhosi have gone through five home games without conceding a goal.
Most Valuable Player (MVP):
Itumeleng Khune entered the match as a substitute and showed his composure as he made a number of telling saves. Daniel Cardoso and Ngezana were strong at the back while Parker used his years of experience to head Chiefs towards glory.
Chiefs: Akpeyi (red card); Frosler, Ngezana, Cardoso, Sasman, Mashiane (Mphahlele 67’), Blom, Ngcobo (Katsande 86’), Parker, Manyama (Khune 44); Nurković
Subs not used: Baccus; Billiat, Kambole, Castro
Wydad XI: Sioudi, Rehin, Comara Cheick, Farhane, Babatunde (Asrir 46’), El Moudane, Ait Allal (Bilal 84’), Aouk (Mounsef 51’), Gaddarine, Serrhat, El Moutaraji
Subs not used: Henin, Karkache, Zakarie, Mounsef, Abderrahin
Chiefs will next be in action at home on Tuesday evening in a DStv Premiership game against Stellenbosch FC.