TS Galaxy (0) 0
Kaizer Chiefs (1) 1 (Nurković 26’)
Kaizer Chiefs clinched the final MTN Top8 spot with a disciplined, committed 1-0 victory over TS Galaxy, as Samir Nurković’s winner sealed the points at the Mbombela Stadium.
Nurković capitalised on a defensive error by Macbeth Mahlangu to head home the game’s only goal in the 26th minute.
Victory in the final game of the DStv Premiership season saw the Amakhosi qualify for the 2021-22 MTN 8 competition.
Galaxy began with a spring in their step, looking to take the lead early on and put Chiefs on the back foot. Some strong goalkeeping from Bruce Bvuma and strong defending from his back four kept Galaxy from turning their early pressing into goals.
In just the 6th minute, Bvuma produced the save of the match as he made a lunging dive to his left to save a powerfully driven shot from the left edge of the Chiefs 18 yard area to stop Phohlongo Masilake from giving Galaxy the lead.
Chiefs took the lead when Mahlangu failed to deal with Reeve Frosler’s long throw deep into the Galaxy 18 yard area, under pressure from Leonardo Castro, as he attempted to head the ball clear but could only flick it on to the back post. The ball fell to Nurković, who climbed in front of Gerald Modisane to head the ball past an unsighted Wensten Van Der Linde to put Chiefs 1-0 ahead.
With Chiefs continuing to dominate the game Galaxy opted to go wide and in the 39th minute Luckyboy Mokoena was able to work some space down the right and sent in a pinpoint ball for Mxolisi Mchupu, whose goal-bound header lacked power and did not test Bvuma, who stood his ground to easily collect the ball.
Chiefs went into the break 1-0 ahead and in pole position to pip Rockets to the Top8.
Chiefs did a good job retaining possession in the second half and were frustrating Galaxy by absorbing their attacks and hitting them on the break.
On the hour mark a long ball over the top from Bernard Parker was chased down by Nurkovic, who was pushed off the ball, but no penalty was awarded.
Three minutes later and Chiefs were again denied a penalty by referee Masixole Bambiso, Lebogang Manyama played a give and go with Nurković, who managed to touch the ball into his path and as Manyama strode into the Galaxy 18 yard area Mokoena slid on the ground in an attempt to get the ball away, but missed the ball and instead brought down Manyama.
Somehow the referee opted to award a goal kick and deny Chiefs a penalty.
With the game in the final ten minutes Nurković was able to gallop past both Mahlangu and Pogiso Sanoka, as Van Der Linde approached him he cut the ball across to his left towards Nkosingiphile Ngcobo. But with the goal at his mercy he was unable to make contact with the ball after the slightest of touches from the Rockets keeper. The chance for Chiefs second goal drifted away, but fortunately it would not prove costly.
As the clock ran down the hosts went for broke and it took great work from Bvuma to palm away Sihle Ndlvou’s powerfully driven attempt from the edge of the box, as he kept Chiefs lead intact.
Chiefs managed to close out the game as they denied TS Galaxy a place in next season’s MTN 8 competition, with Chiefs exacting revenge of sorts against Galaxy for their loss against them in the 2018-19 Nedbank Cup Final.
Fact of the Game – Chiefs have qualified for the MTN 8 competition for the 44th time in the club’s history since 1972 and the 19th time in the PSL Era.
Number of the Game 6 – Samir Nurković has had six goal contributions in the league this season, scoring three goals and making a further three assists. Chiefs have won all three league games and all four games in all competitions in which he has scored in this season. In the three league games in which the Serb has scored, Amakhosi have won each game 1-0.
MVP – Nurković was quick to react when the chance came his way in the 26th minute and made it count. Amakhosi were strong defensively with the men at the back all backing up man of the match Bvuma, who made a wonderful save towards the end to ensure Chiefs won the game. Chiefs substitutions were spot on, with Njabulo Blom and Siyabonga Ngezana’s late introductions helping Chiefs close out the game effectively.
Chiefs: Bvuma; Frosler, Zulu (Sasman 70’), Cardoso, Mathoho; Katsande, Ngcobo (Ngezana 87’), Parker ©, Manyama, Castro (Blom 78’), Nurković
Subs not used: Akpeyi; Agay, Baccus, Radebe, Mashiane, Kambole
Galaxy: van der Linde; Sanoka ©, Modisane, Mokoena (Mogaila 70’), M. Mahlangu (Fransman 89’), Nduli, Brooks, Phohlongo (Lekay 78’), Macuphu, Ndlovu (Aubassa 90’), Mbatha
Subs not used: Heugh, Mbunjana, S. Mahlangu, Nyama, Modise
What Next – Chiefs are next in action in the first leg of the CAF Champions League Semi-final on the 19th June, away in Morocco against Wydad Casablanca.