The 10-23 number seemed to be a lifeline for Kaizer Chiefs as Siyabonga Nomvete, who wears jersey number 23 and number 10 Tony Illodigwe both scored to give Amakhosi a 3-2 aggregate win against Stade Tamponnaise in the Caf Cup Winners’ Cup at FNB Stadium on Wednesday.
Nigerian striker Illodigwe scored a last-minute goal to ensure a safe passge through to the next round.
Chiefs coach Muhsin Ertugral took a major gamble when he left out the bulk of his experienced players against Stade Tamponnaise and almost conceded a shock defeat until a last minute strike by Illodigwe.
Both sides played to a 1-1 draw in the first led in Reunion and when the visitors took a surprise lead on the stroke of halftime, Chiefs were faced with a difficult task as they needed two goals to progress to the next round for a clash against Seychelles side Sunshine.
Frederic Bastin put the Reunion side in the lead in the dying minutes of the first half following some poor goalkeeping by Brian Baloyi. Stephane Bausillon’s shot hit the upright and Baloyi failed to make a clean save and handed Bastin a golden opportunity to slam the loose ball into the net.
Erugral started the match with four youngsters plus Marco Mthembu, who has been out of action for a while and the hosts struggled to break down a solid Tamponnaise defence.
And when it became clear that the youngsters were struggling against Tamponnaise, Ertugral brought on star striker Siyabonga Nomvete in the 32nd minute in place of Justice Sithole and Jabu Pule came on for Daniel Matsau at the start of the second half.
Illodigwe, who was ordered not to take a penalty in the 67th minute, when Marco Mthembu was fouled in the box, silenced his coach with a last minute goal to pave a way for Amakhosi into the next round. Nomvete converted the spot kick to level matters.
The 10-23 connection proved deadly once more with Nomvete, who wears the number 23 jersey, did the spade work before and swinging in a cross to number 10 jersey Illodigwe, who raised above the Tamponnaise defence to head in the winner.
Illodigwe, under constant pressure from his coach, seems to have hit form in the right time. He recently came off a transfer list and the coach has repeatedly said he is not yet impressed by the burly striker’s performance.
Kaizer Chiefs: Brian Baloyi, Isaac Mabotsa, Cyril Nzama, Lifa Gqosha, Marco Mthembu, Thato Mokoena (Doc Khumalo 71st min), Patrick Mbuthu, Arthur Zwane, Justice Sithole (Siyabonga Nomvete 32nd), Tony Illodigwe, Daniel Matsau (Jabu Pule 46th).
Subs: Tladi Mathibela, Themba Seli, Martin Zwane, Luke Petros.