Slender wins see Chiefs, Birds go through

2010-08-23 00:00

THE 2009/10 Rookie of the Year, Knowledge Musona, led Kaizer Chiefs to victory on Saturday night when he scored the game’s only goal in his side’s 1-0 victory over Bloemfontein Celtic at the Rand Stadium.

The first 45 minutes saw the Soweto giants in full control as they dominated possession. Playing with a swagger in their step, their passing was quick, crisp and accurate.

It did, however, take Chiefs about 10 minutes before they turned their domination into a decent goal-scoring chance when Abia Nale pulled the best out of Celtic keeper Thabani Stemmer, who had to dive low to his left to turn a six-yard shot around the post.

Amakhosi continued to knock on the door and it was only a matter of time before they broke down the stubborn Phunya Sele Sele defence.

Knowledge Musona curled a beautiful 20-metre free-kick into the top left-hand corner of the net in the 22nd minute, with Stemmer a helpless spectator.

Thereafter Chiefs continued to threaten, but failed to find any other scoring opportunities. Instead Celtic came closer to scoring the game’s second goal in the 43rd minute.

Dino Ndlovu broke behind the Glamour Boys’ defence and drove towards goal with only the keeper to beat, but he dragged his shot just wide of goal with Itumeleng Khune stranded between his posts.

The second half saw Celtic make a drastic improvement in their play and they were the more dominant side. They took control of the game and pushed forward in numbers, but struggled to break down the resolute Chiefs defence.

Meanwhile, league champions SuperSport United continued their recent struggle as they were sent packing by Moroka Swallows.

Kermit Erasmus missed a great chance to put United into an early lead when a fifth-minute corner kick was poorly defended by the Birds and handed the young striker a shooting chance, but he pulled it wide of goal.

On 17 minutes Brent Carelse almost scored a stunning long-range free-kick, cracking the ball just over the crossbar. The effort had goalkeeper Aubrey Mathibe, who somewhat surprisingly started ahead of Greg Etafia, scrambling across his goal line.

Swallows left-back Keegan Ritchie tested United’s debutant goalkeeper Wayne Brown with a powerful free- kick. A short while later Morgan Gould almost directed a fine cross from Shaun Haschick into his own net, with the ball skipping just wide of the upright, much to the United centre-back’s relief.

Swallows appeared to be in control, but were stunned by a bolt from the blue when Erasmus scored a terrific long-range goal.

The striker turned Morgan Shivambu some 20 metres from goal and let fly with a shot that was too fast for Mathibe to get across to.

Swallows, despite some errant handling from Mathibe in the early stages of the second half that went unpunished, soon pulled level at 1-1.

Nomvethe sprang the offside trap, outpaced Gould, and slid a low shot past the helpless Brown to level the game in the 54th minute.

Mathibe had looked shaky in his handling, but his confidence returned in style after a wonderful reaction save to deny Erasmus in the 58th minute, keeping out a point-blank shot after the striker met a fine cross from Lyle Lakay.

With mere seconds left on the clock in extra time, the Birds were awarded a soft penalty after substitute Lwazi Skosana was pushed over by Jeffrey Ntuka.

Ramahlwe Mphehlele twice tried to take the spot kick and was denied both times by Brown, but on each occasion United defenders were encroaching in the box, leading referee Faiek Daniels to signal for retakes.

Ritchie finally converted to seemingly put Swallows through.

However, deep into injury time, a free kick for the visitors saw Tebogo Langerman head home at the far post and make the score 2-2, sending the contest to penalties.

Swallows would have been forgiven for losing heart after being almost certain of their place in the semi-finals but they held their nerve better in the shootout, with Morgan Shivambu scoring the decisive kick to see his side win 4-3. — Backpagepix.

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