Spirited performance not enough to reach TKO final

Kaizer Chiefs                             (1) 1 (Castro 18’)

Orlando Pirates                        (1) 2 (Lorch 13’, Shonga 84’)

Kaizer Chiefs fought hard to go past Orlando Pirates to reach the Telkom Knockout final, but luck was not on their side at times. The Buccaneers eventually won the semis 2-1. The match was played at a sold-out Moses Mabhida Stadium. 

Lebogang Manyama returned from injury and was handed a start in this crucial cup game.

The encounter started at a frantic pace with Chiefs trying to dominate, while Pirates tried to catch the home side on the break playing a quick-transition game.

The Buccaneers scored the opening goal from one of these breaks in the 13th minute. Vincent Pule curled the ball with his outside left-foot into the box from the right side, finding Thembinkosi Lorch in the box. The Pirates midfielder had gotten in front of his marker and finished from close range, 1-0.

Chiefs, however, managed to equalise five minutes later. Khama Billiat supplied a brilliant ball from deep into midfield over the Pirates defenders in the direction of Leonard Castro. The Colombian won the battle with Happy Jele to get to the ball first and managed to put the ball into the back of the net, 1-1.

Thereafter, the encounter continued to flow up and down.

Willard Katsande was again great in midfield, winning numerous balls and helping to ease the pressure on the defence.

Billiat was the man that looked to create danger whenever on the ball, while Castro made tireless runs up-front.

There was a magnificent atmosphere at the Moses Mabhida Stadium with most spectators rooting for the Glamour Boys.

It was 1-1 at the half-time break. The game continued to be fascinating to watch after the two goals early on, although no real chances followed during the rest of the first half.

Both sides came out again to play positive soccer, willing to go forward whenever having an opportunity to do so.

The pace of the game slowed down a bit compared to the first 45 minutes. Both sides were obviously worried about conceding a second goal.

Chiefs continued to do well in central midfield, where Katsande was well supported by George Maluleka who worked tremendously hard.

Coach Solinas brought on Bernard Parker in the 68th minute for Manyama with the aim of boosting the attack.

Amakhosi got a few times close to getting the second goal and looked dangerous on the set-pieces, but the ball didn’t find the back of the net.

It was instead Pirates that scored the 2-1 via Justin Shonga after a cross from the right by their substitute Augustine Mulenga.

Soon after the goal, Kabelo Mahlasela came on for Dumsani Zuma.

Amakhosi got the much-needed goal just before the final whistle, but the referee ruled that Mario Booysen’s header hadn’t crossed the line, which seemed the correct decision.

Chiefs tried hard and delivered a spirited performance, but it wasn’t enough in the end.

Most Valuable Player (MVP):

Several Kaizer Chiefs players had a good game, including Willard Katsande and George Maluleka, while Dumsani Zuma also had his moments. However, it was Orlando Pirates’ midfielder Xola Mlambo who was selected as the Man of the Match.

What it means:

It means that Kaizer Chiefs haven’t reached the Telkom Knockout final. 

Kaizer Chiefs 11: Khune; Mphahlele, Ngezana, Booysen, Walusimbi; Zuma (Mahlasela 87’), Katsande, Maluleka (Andrianarimanana 93’), Manyama (Parker 68’); Billiat, Castro

Subs not used: Vries, Cardoso, Ntiya-Ntiya, Zulu

Orlando Pirates 11: Mabokgwane; Munetsi, Jele, Maela; Mbekile, Nyatema, Mlambo, Lorch (Da Silva 94’), Pule (Makola 92’); Kutumela (Mulenga 68’), Shonga

Subs not used: Mpontshane, Mobara, Mntambo, Qalinge

Next Match:

Kaizer Chiefs will next host Zanzibar’s Zimamoto in the first leg of the preliminary round of the CAF Confederation Cup at Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Wednesday, 28 November 2018 (kick-off is at 19:30).