The foreign connection of Josias Macamo and Luke Jukulile inspired Kaizer Chiefs to a 2-0 victory against Ria Stars in the quarterfinals of the BP Top Eight knockout competition in Rustenburg on Saturday.
The result ensured a place for Amakhosi in the semifinals of this lucrative competition, joining Sundowns and Orlando Pirates who both secured their places last week.
The last Top Eight quarterfinal match – between Jomo Cosmos and Santos – will be played on Sunday at Olympia Park in Rustenburg.
Chiefs went on the offensive right from the start, forcing Stars to concede a couple of corner kicks in the process. Amakhosi’s persistent pressure on the Stars’ goal yielded positive results as early as the eighth minute.
Mozambican Macamo, formerly with Costa do Sol, won a free-kick on the edge of the box after he was fouled by Frank Makua. Marco Mthembu delivered a perfect cross from the resultant dead-ball situation and Macamo beat the Stars defence in the aerial battle to head home the opening goal.
In doing so Macamo increased his goal tally for the season to two after scoring another vital goal in a league match against Wits University on Wednesday, earning Amakhosi their first points in the new Premier League season.
Zimbabwean Luke Jukulile, who struggled to find the back of the net in his first season, gave Amakhosi firm control of the game on 50 minutes.
Jukulile out-jumped the Stars defence to head home a well-taken free-kick by Arthur Zwane, erasing any hope of recovery that Stars might have had.
Both players, however, did not stay on the field until the final minute as they were both substituted.
Firstly, Macamo made way for defender Cyril Nzama at the beginning of the second half and then Jukulile came off 10 minutes before the final whistle for youngster Justice Sithole.
Stars, who unceremoniously kicked Chiefs out of the Rothmans Cup last season, were looking for a similar feat but the lack of co-ordination between their arsenal up-front and the midfield seemed to be their undoing. The Stars defence at times also looked out of place as the two goals were scored in similar fashion.
Manyora, as Stars are well-known in the Northern Province, picked up their performance in the second half and started dominating the match. Chiefs keeper and captain Brian Baloyi was called into action in the 51st minute to stop the marauding Stars.
Four minutes later defender Sam Pam came close but his free-kick curled wide by just a few inches.
Stars introduced former Chiefs marksman Tony Illodigwe for Jacob Machaka in the 57th minute but the substitution had little impact on the game as Gary Goldstone and Nhlanhla Kubeka kept the burly Nigerian under check.
Stars’ best chance of the match came in the 74th minute following a goalmouth scramble, but Malawian international Patrick Mabedi – with Baloyi well off his line – came to the rescue by clearing the goal-bound shot before it could cross the line.
William Lerefolo, who joined the Pietersburg side from Moroka Swallows, had a disappointing start for his new side. After coming on as a substitute for injured Sol Molapo in the 12th minute, Lerefolo was replaced in the 76th minute, making way for Nicholas Mkhabela. That action sums up well his debut performance in the blue and white.
The start of this quarterfinal match was delayed for 20 minutes to allow the huge volumes of supporters, the majority of which did not heed a call by organisers to buy tickets early, outside the stadium to make their way in.
Kaizer Chiefs: Brian Baloyi, Patrick Mabedi, Garry Goldstone, Nhlanhla Kubeka, Arthur Zwane, Marco Mthembu, Thabo Mooki, Patrick Mbuthu, Stanton Fredericks (Lucky Maselesele 58), Josias Macamo (Cyril Nzama 46), Luke Petros (Justice Sithole 80).
Ria Stars: Abram Khwenenyane, Sam Pam, Lucky Lengwathi, Sol Molapo (William Lerefolo 12, Nicholas Mkhabela 76), Hillary Makasa, Elsto Lungu, Jacob Machaka (Tony Illodigwe 57), Thapelo Liau, Joel Seroba, Frank Makua, Thembinkosi Biyela.
Referee: Achmat Salie.