25 April 2021
Sundowns (1) (Sirino 35’)
Kaizer Chiefs (0) (Lebusa o.g 72’, Zuma 74’)
Kaizer Chiefs for the fourth successive season went undefeated away from home in the league against Sundowns, recording their third victory in that run as they came from behind to defeat Sundowns 2-1 in a fiercely contested DStv Premiership encounter at Loftus in Pretoria on Sunday afternoon. Chiefs also ended Sundowns’ 21 game unbeaten run in the season as the log leaders were defeated for the first time in the league this season. Chiefs were unfortunate to go behind in the 35th minute through a Gaston Sirino goal, but rallied back scoring two goals in a space of two minutes in the second half. With Samir Nurković causing Mosa Lebusa into scoring an own goal in the 72nd minute, while fellow substitute Dumsani Zuma grabbed the game winner in the 74th minute after being played in on goal by Njabulo Blom.
The opening exchanges were tense with either team giving little away early on. Sundowns’ Sirino had a go at goal from distance in the 3rd minute but sent his effort wide of goal. In the 10th minute a good run by Philani Zulu and some fine link up play between him and Lebogang Manyama saw him released down the left by Manyama before sending in a sweeping cross to the far post where Reeve Frosler made contact with the ball but his effort at goal was blocked by Lyle Lakay.
There was a scare of Sundowns keeper Denis Onyango in the 18th minute as he crashed into Chiefs striker Leonardo Castro, after he had made a clearance. After some treatment the Sundowns keeper was able to continue.
Lakay drew the ball wide of Khune’s left hand up right in the 23rd minute after Sundowns had taken a quick free kick.
Chiefs created the best chance of the half in the 30th minute as Manyama won the ball on the left off Rivaldo Coetzee and played it to Zulu, who then curled it towards the Sundowns 18-yard area where Khama Billiat improvised well and chested the ball forward into the path of Castro. The Colombian striker raced on to the ball beating two defenders and Onyango to the ball but from close range, he lifted over the goal. Two minutes later Zulu was picked out inside the Sundowns 18-yard area with a cross from the right by Billiat. He was not alert to the ball as it came over and it hit him and flew without danger into the arms of the waiting Onyango.
Chiefs were made to rue those two opportunities as Sundowns went and took the lead in the 35th minute. A tussle for the ball on the halfway line saw Sundowns eventually win possession with Themba Zwane playing the ball off to Gift Motupa. He in turn picked out Sirino who rode the tackle of Daniel Cardoso raced past Khune rounded the Chiefs keeper and knocked the ball home to put the hosts 1-0 up.
Three minutes before the break a perfectly weighted ball from Frosler on the right picked up Billiat inside the danger zone, he managed to again find Manyama who wiggled some room before firing at goal as his shot was blocked by Coetzee and sent out for a corner. In the final minute of the first half Chiefs were forced into making a substitution as Billiat had to be substituted after being injured by Andile Jali, he was replaced by Dumsani Zuma. The substitute could have scored with his first touch of the game after he connected with a pass from the right by Frosler who had initially done well to beat the Sundowns defense and lay the ball off to Zuma but he sent his effort from close range over Onyango’s head.
Sundowns led 1-0 at the break.
Shortly after the restart, Castro tested Onyango with a stinging effort from the edge of the 18-yard area. The Chiefs striker attempted to curl the ball around the Sundowns keeper who managed lunge into the air to stop the effort. He eventually brought it under control after a few attempts as he looked to have spilled the ball out for a corner.
With Chiefs continuing the high press in search of an equaliser, there was always the danger that Sundowns could double their advantage. Scenario almost played itself out in the 63rd minute when Sirino picked out Lebohang Maboe inside the Chiefs 18-yard area but Khune came out to close the angle on Maboe who could not bring the ball under control. When he eventually managed to, the Chiefs keeper managed to block his effort at goal.
Chiefs drew level in the 72nd minute. It took some good work from Frosler to cut out a cross and he raced upfield with the ball along the right before playing it to Samir Nurković who intended to cross the ball trying to pick out Castro. Instead the ball took a wicked deflection off Lebusa and flew into the back of the net. With Onyango unsighted expecting the ball to go the other way, he could not back track to save his skipper’s blushes.
Amakhosi went ahead in the 74th minute when Blom who ran non-stop all afternoon long played a defence splitting pass, catching the Sundowns defence flatfooted as he threaded the ball through for Zuma. Zuma raced through towards goal and played the ball past a helpless Onyango to put Chiefs 2-1 ahead and turned the game on its head.
Chiefs weathered a late storm with Khune producing a wonder save to deny Kermit Erasmus from levelling the scores late on to send Sundowns to their first league loss of the season. The victory helped shoot Amakhosi into the top eight position in the league. It was a major morale boosting win for Chiefs ahead of their next game against Chippa United at home on Wednesday.
Fact of the game:
This was the 50th PSL era league meeting between the sides and it was Chiefs 21st win. Sundowns are the third team that Chiefs have played in 50 league games in the PSL era along with Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United.
Number of the game – 10:
Kaizer Chiefs were being hosted for a 25th time in the PSL era in a league game by Sundowns and it was Chiefs’ 10th away win over the Brazilians in this time. Sundowns have won 9 games with 6 drawn games. Chiefs are now undefeated in their last four away league games against Sundowns winning three and drawing one.
Most Valuable Player (MVP):
Frosler won crucial balls and was key to Chiefs finding their equaliser. Zulu was also strong down the wings while Billiat was creative and troublesome before having to leave injured. Zuma and fellow substitute Nurković gave Chiefs added attacking impetus and were both eventually the game winners for Amakhosi. The man of the match was Njabulo Blom who ran more than any other Chiefs player and made the assist for the game winner.
Chiefs: Khune; Mathoho, Ngezana, Cardoso, Zulu, Frosler, Blom, Parker ©, Manyama (Nurković 62); Billiat (Zuma 45’), Castro (Baccus 81’)
Subs not used: Akpeyi; Mphahlele, Sasman, Mashiane, Katsande, Ngcobo
Sundowns: Onyango; B Onyango (Nascimento 79’), Lebusa ©, Coetzee, Morena, Jali (Mvala 72’), Lakay (Modiba 79’); Maboe, Zwane, Sirino (Mkhuma 85’), Motupa (Erasmus 79’)
Subs not used: Pieterse, Mkhuma, Mudau, Kapinga, Vilakazi
Chiefs are next in action on Wednesday when they host Chippa United in a DStv Premiership clash at home.