Kaizer Chiefs were simply outstanding as they outthought and outclassed leg-weary Santos in the Coca-Cola Cup semifinals with an emphatic 4-2 defeat for a place in the final of the country’s richest knockout competition.
Chiefs were in a mean mood following their incredible success in African club competition where they knocked out Tunisian side Club Africain with a 3-0 aggregate score, moving into the Mandela Cup final.
The People’s Team meanwhile, appeared leg-weary following their amazing success in the build-up to their date with the Phefeni Glamour Boys. Santos beat stubborn Golden Arrows in the last 16 before edging out Cape neighbours Ajax Cape Town just four days later.
Man of the match Kenny Niemach started the rout with a 13th minute goal after connecting with a cross from Marco Mthembu.
But soon afterwards the Chiefs’ defence was caught napping in the air as Marc Ithier headed home a John Mbidzo cross in the 24th minute to bring Santos on equal terms.
Niemach was not happy to see his hard work being dismantled like that, and within five minutes after the equaliser the former Sundowns marksman put Amakhosi back in the lead.
When Chiefs grabbed their third goal in the 32nd minute, the writing was on the wall. Santos coach Gordon Igesund could not hide the frustration on his face and he appeared like a man in serious need of counselling.
Whatever Igesund told his players at halftime will remain a mystery but it surely did the trick as they started the second half on the offensive and Chiefs were forced into making some errors.
The introduction of Sebastian Bax for Vincent Sokhela and Thando Mngomeni for Tyrone Arendse did the trick for Santos, who started attacking with urgency. Mngomeni was a thorn in the flesh of the Amakhosi defence with his dangerous crosses.
With Chiefs defending with their backs against the wall following a Santos free-kick, Mngomeni seized the opportunity outside the box to blast the ball past a maze of Amakhosi defence in the 67th minute to send shockwaves in the Amakhosi camp while giving Santos renewed hopes.
Six minutes later Santos almost caught Chiefs off-guard with Ithier’s header thudding against the upright.
But Chiefs were not going to allow Santos to spoil their good run. The Cape side left their back line unchecked and second half substitute Jossias Macamo put the final nail into the Santos coffin following great interplay between Arthur Zwane and Pule.
Chiefs will now face the winner of the Sundowns-Jomo Cosmos semifinal which takes place next Sunday.
Chiefs: Baloyi, Nzama, Mabedi, Kubeka, Mthembu; Mbuthu, Zwane, Niemach (Macamo 78), Fredericks (Mooki 52), Pule, Sithole (Mkhize 64).
Santos: Arendse, Burton, T Arendse (Thando Mngomeni 46), Mbidzo, Mchunu, Miller (Mabeta 62), Mannetti, Tsiu, Sokhela (Bax 46), Xaba, Ithier.
Referee: Lawrance Monnathoko.