Premier League giants Kaizer Chiefs won the Vodacom Challenge exhibition soccer tournament with a narrow 1-0 victory over defending champions and arch-rivals Orlando Pirates at Absa Stadium in Durban on Sunday.
Young substitute Lucky Maselesele scored four minutes from the
final whistle for the Amakhosi to lift the competition’s
horn-shaped trophy and the R500 000 first prize.
Another substitute, Doctor Khumalo, played a pass to striker
Siyabonga Nomvete who squared the ball for Maselesele, who had come
on for Arthur Zwane in the 77th minute, to side-foot it home from
close to the line.
Pirates had started the game as the busier of the two sides, but
they struggled to go wide with the result that there were few
crosses for strikers Denis Lota and Phumlani Mkhize to feed on in
Chiefs soon settled down and came close to scoring twice midway
through the half through their two Namibian internationals. In the
28th minute Mohamed Auseb had his headed attempt cleared off the
line by Pirates midfielder Vusi Mcwango and two minutes later
Robert Nauseb saw his header crash against the upright.
Chiefs controlled the rest of the half and their midfield became
more stable in the second half when Khumalo, who missed last week’s
semifinals with a toe problem, was brought on for Daniel Matsau.
Nomvete had the ball in the net in 68th minute as a spin-off from a
free-kick, but the effort was ruled out by Zimbabwean referee Felix
Tangawarima for offside.
A short while later Pirates had their best chance of the game when
striker Lota beat two Chiefs players and put the ball through for
Benedict Vilakazi, but the substitute shot hopeless wide from
inside the box.
The game became more exciting towards the end and fortunately for
Chiefs’ strong following, Maselesele had the final say in the 86th