Bucs, Chiefs turn on skills

2007-11-25 00:00

Nothing could showcase South African football better than the excitement generated by the Soweto derby.

After a tactical, competitive first half, the game really opened up in the second 45 minutes. Four goals were scored, two of them gems, and the global audience would have been treated to a spectacle of entertaining football in front of a sold-out stadium.

But for the delegates from yesterday’s 2010 World Cup Preliminary Draw and foreign press who attended the game, an even greater impression would have been made, because the atmosphere of the derby is best absorbed sitting in the stadium. Members of the foreign press later commented that the match served as an illustration of the great willingness South Africans have to put on a special World Cup in 2010.

It took just 23 seconds for the game to spring into life in spectacular fashion, Shaun Bartlett’s long throw-in taken on the chest by Mabhudi Khenyeza inside the area, who turned and volleyed in a strike out of the top drawer. The early strike contributed to the open nature of the game.

“I thought it was a magnificent advert for South African football,” said Pirates coach Owen Da Gama. “We could have had a game of negative football, but it wasn’t — it was open and end-to-end.”

After Chiefs’ early breakthrough, Pirates came back into the game and ended the first half the dominant team.

In the 33rd minute, the Bucs equalised with a goal of equal class to the earlier effort by Khenyeza.

Pirates’ star playmaker, Teko Modise, may not have been directly involved, but it was his piece of skill on the left that sparked the Bucs midfield and put the Chiefs’ defence on the back foot.

From the breakdown, the ball fell to Chenene on the right, who brought the ball inside Chiefs defender Onismor Bhasera and crossed accurately to Excellent Walaza in the middle, the young striker rising and expertly heading his fifth of the season.

Walaza made it 2-1 in the 52nd minute to go joint-top of the PSL scoring charts on six goals.

After Bartlett missed a sitter seconds into the half, Modise’s pass put Masehe through, with the striker’s shot saved by the legs of Chiefs keeper Itumeleng Khune and falling to Walaza to sweep home his brace.

Chiefs equalised again in the 59th minute, with a long throw-in ricocheting around in the area and veteran Arthur Zwane popping up at the far post to head the ball in.

Da Gama said: “I’m very proud of these youngsters — Excellent Walaza, joint top scorer in the PSL. Lindokuhle [Mkhwanazi] has been called up to the national team after five games in the PSL. I believe in the youth and I think there’s a bright future for the team.”

The coach was in charge of Pirates in his first Soweto derby. “Look you’ve got to be brave. There’s butterflies and you’re nervous, but I was more nervous for the younger players and they showed true character.”

Chiefs coach Muhsin Ertugral felt his team could have won the game. “I think we should have won it. The last period for us was very attacking.

“We were waiting for that time to open up.”

Walaza said scoring a brace in the derby was “a dream come true, it’s really amazing”.

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