AmaKhosi power into MTN 8 semis

2013-08-11 10:00

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3-0 the name of game as strikers find net in first three games

This year’s MTN 8 has produced the most remarkable statistic – all the games played thus far have ended with a score line of 3-0.

And right on cue last night Kaizer Chiefs turned up in goal-scoring mood to produce the same score line.

It took Chiefs only five minutes to take the lead, courtesy of a lanky defender, Tefu Mashamaite, before fellow central defender Eric Mathoho made it two for AmaKhosi and Siphiwe Tshabala’s third booked the semifinals spot for Soweto giants.

A corner kick from Siphiwe Tshabalala was headed by Bernard Parker and cleared off the line, but Mashamaite was in waiting for a rebound at the edge of the box and banged the ball into the back of the net for Stuart Baxter’s charges.

The consistent Mashamaite, however, should have known better than to lift up his T-shirt during his celebrations – earning himself an unnecessary yellow card that will surely haunt him in the few next weeks.

The Tshwane outfit had their first clear scoring opportunity in the opening minute when a grass-cutting cross from left winger Mpho Matsi directed to Obidiah Tarumbwa found an always alert Mashamaite, who averted the danger by taking the ball out for a corner kick.

AmaKhosi’s impressive attacking force was running smoothly, however, and looked a constant threat as they chased the next goal.

The quick passing football from the middle of the park moving forward displayed by the Glamour boys last night proved to be a nightmare for the MTN 8 rookies’ backline, who were lucky to go into the half time without a booking.

Last season’s double silverware winners continued to show just why they are the most successful side in the history of the Top 8 competition – having won it 15 times out of 38 editions.

Finding it difficult to break through the AmaTuks defence towards the end of the first half, Musona’s long range was a few inches from the upright and earned itself a new name – “side-netting”.

On the hour mark Ayanda Lubelo fluffed a golden opportunity to level the scores following a well-timed square ball from Thabo Mosadi and the latter made way for Lucky Matosi immediately after the miss.

Next Eric Mathoho reaffirmed just how beneficial it is for a team to have tall players for dead-ball situations; he converted Tshabalala’s corner kick with a powerful header.

AmaTuk’s sloppy defending midway into the last half cost them once again with Tshabalala taking advantage of a miss kick by defender Charly Moussono-Moussono, slotting the ball home with his educated left foot in a one-on-one encounter with goalkeeper Washington Arubi, who himself had a nightmare of a game.

Starting with Musona ahead of Lehlohonolo Majoro might not have been the best decision by Baxter as the Zimbabwean-born striker was hardly seen on the ball and failed to capitalise on some poor defensive situations.

Baxter conceded his mistake late in the game when he replaced Musona with the Majoro in the 82nd minute, but it was too late for the new man to make an impact.

On the night, Chiefs were just too strong for the boys from North Gauteng and the team spirit and hunger for victory that looks to be the order of the day at Naturena as the Englishman’s touch continued to yield good results.

But one thing is for sure, amaTuks coach Steve Barker did not bargain for such a disappointing start to the season with two losses in a row after his boys also lost to Moroka Swallows in a league encounter last weekend.

For Chiefs it was their first victory over AmaTuks since the Pretoria outfit gained promotion to top flight football last season.

Earlier at Royal Bafokeng stadium Platinum Stars booked their place in the MTN8 semifinals after they thrashed Free State Stars 3-0.

Midfielder Benson Mhlongo opened the scoring midway through the first half before second-half goals from strikers Siphelele Mthembu and Mogakolodi Ngele of Botswana sealed the victory.

While Ea Lla Koto dominated possession in the early stages, it was the hosts who came close to opening the scoring in the ninth minute, but Lindokuhle Mbatha saw his long-range effort striking the crossbar.

Free State Stars captain Paulus Masehe had a similar effort at the other end four minutes later when he was offered space outside the penalty area, but his effort sailed wide of the opposition goalposts.

The opening goal came in the 26th minute from a set piece as the lanky Mhlongo rose high inside the box to glance defender Vuyo Mere’s corner into the far post, leaving goalkeeper Tshepo Motsoeneng with no chance.

Coach Allan Freese’s side eventually stretched their lead in the 74th minute when Mthembu crept in unnoticed at the far post to head home, connecting with an inswinging free kick from his striking partner Ngele.

The result was put beyond doubt six minutes later when the hosts were awarded a free kick on the right. Ngele caught Motsoeneng by surprise as he curled the ball into the near post from a tight angle.

On Friday night at the Bidvest Stadium Wits were the first team to book their place in the semifinals when they beat Bloemfontein Celtic 3-0.

– Backpage TXT/Supe

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