Nurkovic strikes as Chiefs defeat AmaZulu

13 January 2021

 

AmaZulu          (0) 0

Kaizer Chiefs    (1) 1 ( Nurković 11’)

 

Kaizer Chiefs defeated AmaZulu 1-0 in a fiercely contested DStv Premiership game on Wednesday afternoon at the Jonsson Kings Park stadium in Durban. A clinical first half strike from Samir Nurković, who was making his first start of the new season proved to be the difference as Chiefs came through a very physically demanding assignment. Benni McCarthy’s charges put up a fight till the end of the game but Chiefs were able to deal with all their attempts.

The match began with AmaZulu’s Thembelani Sikhakhane putting his studs into the back of the right leg of Happy Mashiane in the second minute of the game. It was a reckless challenge that deserved more than just the yellow card shown to him by referee Philangenkosi Khumalo. The AmaZulu player made no attempt to challenge for the ball and sent Mashiane crumbling to the ground in agony.

Chiefs shrugged off the early physical onslaught from Usuthu and took the lead in the 11th minute. A neat build up from the back by Chiefs saw Anthony Akumu Agay play the ball to his right to Siyabonga Ngezana, who in turned rolled the ball to the rightwing where Dumsani Zuma was stationed. Zuma in turn tried picking out Bernard Parker on the edge of AmaZulu’s 18-yard with a cross. Parker could not get the ball under control and instead it hit Siyethemba Sithembe who was facing his own goal and the ball fell to Nurković, who on the half volley drove the ball to the right of Veli Mothwa and into the back of the net put Chiefs 1-0 ahead. The Serbian striker making his first start of the season and scoring his first goal of the new campaign.

Chiefs were looking strong down both flanks. In the 22nd minute, it took a timely interception from Limbikani Mzava to get in front of Nurković as he stuck a boot out to send a dangerous looking ball from the left by Mashiane out for a corner.

In the 31st minute, AmaZulu conjured up a good scoring opportunity as Mzava played the ball up the left touchline, sending Phumlani Gumede free. He raced up field before floating the ball delightfully towards goal where Siphelele Mthembu was lurking. He managed to rise up above the defence, and although he made contact with the ball, his glancing header went wide of Akpeyi’s left hand up right.

The home team continued with their over-the-top tackling with Zuma and Nurković bearing the brunt of AmaZulu’s tackling, Nurković was felled with a studs-up tackle by Sithembe five minutes before the end of the first half. The Chiefs striker was back helping out in defence and as he attempted to breakaway with ball, he was brought down.

A very physical first half with five yellow cards handed out – three for AmaZulu and two for Chiefs, saw Mashiane being stretched off as Chiefs took a 1-0 lead into the break.

Mashiane’s time on the field eventually came to an end five minutes into the second half as the physicality of the hosts tackles on him took its toll. He was replaced by Lazalous Kambole. Mashiane injured his right knee.

A well-taken free-kick by Sithembe in the 63rd minute was sent into the Chiefs 18-yard area, where Xoki was able to time his run. He jumped up and met the ball with his head, his header looked to be creeping into the net instead it flew just wide of Akpeyi’s right hand up right.

Three minutes later, Zuma worked hard on the left to win the ball after initially losing it. He was then able to send in a telling ball to the opposite end where Nurković managed to meet the ball with his head but Mothwa was on hand to make the save.

In the 67th minute, Mthembu was in a dangerous position inside the Chiefs 18-yard area and played into space. He managed to set himself up to drive the ball goal-wards. He did not see Daniel Cardoso coming up behind him as the Chiefs defender stuck a boot in to make a timely tackle and avert the danger. Mthembu after being tackled fell in a heap to the ground but the referee was not interested in his protestations for a penalty.

Inside referee’s added time at the end of the second half, Chiefs came close to doubling their lead after some good interplay between Kambole and Kearyn Baccus. The latter played Kambole into space on the right side of the AmaZulu 18-yard area. Kambole in turn with the goal in sight drove the ball hard and tried beating Usuthu’s keeper Mothwa at his near post, instead the net minder managed to get down make himself big and blocked the ball.

Mothwa later on in the game came off his line to push the ball away from Nurković to thwart a late Chiefs’ attack. AmaZulu thought they had found a late equaliser eight minutes into added time at the end of the game, but the goal scored by Xoki was ruled out for a foul on Daniel Akpeyi in the build- up.

Chiefs in the end doing enough to end their seven-game winless run-in league games as Amakhosi climbed up to 10th place, jumping four places. Chiefs winning an away league game against AmaZulu for the third game in a row. Amakhosi are now undefeated in their last 22 away league games against AmaZulu stretching back to 1992.

 

Number of the game: 25

Chiefs have now won 25 of their 37 PSL era league games against Usuthu. This is the joint most number of league wins they have against any team in the PSL era since 1996-97. Chiefs have also recorded 25 wins against Free State Stars.

 

Fact of the game:

Since the start of the PSL in 1996-97, this was Chiefs’ 19th away league game against AmaZulu and it was Chiefs 13th win. The joint number of away league wins they have recorded against any team in the PSL era. They have also defeated the now disbanded Wits and Free State Stars 13 times on the road previously.

 

Most Valuable Player (MVP): 

Samir Nurković proved to be a menace all game long for the AmaZulu backline and troubled and frustrated them in the Durban heat. He will look to build on this performance having scored his first goal of the new campaign with a composed finish. Daniel Cardoso the official Man of the Match made a number of game winning tackles to keep the opponents at bay. He has now started Chiefs last forty league games and has also featured in Chiefs last 53 games in all competitions going back to May 2019.

 

Teams:

Chiefs:  Akpeyi; Mphahlele ©, Ngezana (Ngcobo 89’), Zulu, Cardoso; Agay, Matsheke (Baccus 74’), Mashiane (Kambole 50’), Zuma (Moleko 88’); Parker (Blom 74’), Nurković

Subs not used: Bvuma; Sasman, Ntshangase, Lesako

AmaZulu: Mothwa; Sikhakhane, Gumede, Mzava, Xoki;  Makhaula (Ncube 82’), Sithebe, Mlambo (Memela 61’); Chawapihwa (Majoro 75’), Mulenga, Mthembu

Subs not used: Mbatha;  Masilela , Khumalo, Magubane, Mahlambi, Ntsundwana

What’s next?

Chiefs will next be in league action against Cape Town City on Saturday in the Mother City.