At this rate, it looks like Kaizer Chiefs’ wait for silverware will be prolonged to next year after their embarrassing 3-0 thrashing by arch-rivals Orlando Pirates in the first leg of MTN8 semifinal on Saturday.
A massive task awaits Chiefs if they harbour any hopes for a comeback in the return leg next weekend.
Although it is not over yet, it will take something special for Amakhosi to book a place in the final. But from Saturday’s performance it looks unlikely.
A consolation goal or two at Orlando Stadium Saturday would have helped Amakhosi’s cause but it was the shortfalls in defence that came bouncing in the face of coach Gavin Hunt again.
Having let in three without reply in their opening league fixture against Mamelodi Sundowns last weekend, the Chiefs rearguard was exposed again for not closing down their opponents.
Not that Pirates were exceptional but, in contrast, Bucs were clinical.
In fact, it could have been a different story altogether had Khama Billiat and his striking partner Leonardo Castro not been so wasteful in front of goal.
They had exploited the spaces in the Pirates backline just before their side were punished a few minutes later.
In addition to squandering an open chance, Billiat also struck the crossbar. Castro made a mess of an inviting cross, with just the goalkeeper to beat.
With this came a heavy price as Pirates netted in crucial phases through Zakhele Lepasa midway the first half before Vincent Pule and Thembinkosi Lorch killed off the tie in the second period.
How did Pirates get it right?
They were not that solid at the back but coach Josef Zinnabauer’s men were on point with their pressing approach.
They were also clinical in their finishing. Bucs were quick in transitions, utilising the pace of Terrence Dzvukamanja, Pule and Lorch. Lepasa also made timely runs into the box and he was unmarked when he headed home Dzvukamanja’s cross.
At this point, Chiefs defenders Daniel Cardoso and Siyabonga Ngezana did not utilise their aerial advantage by challenging the floating ball, with full backs Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Philani Zulu also caught ball watching.
Pule’s goal had the hallmarks of a good ball player when he turned in two defenders to net Bucs’ second goal in the second half.
Lorch scored a typical goal after he left his marker for dead down the flank before he cut in to send the ball beyond the keeper.
It was such a demolition job that reminded Hunt of the hard work that awaits him.
While Pirates ended their run of successive draws, Chiefs attackers are yet to score in four official matches and the defeat o Saturday certainly knocked their confidence levels.
They went into the derby with a 1-0 win over Chippa United away in midweek.
The victory was courtesy of an own goal, while Chiefs’ eliminated Maritzburg United from the competition through the brace of defender Yagan Sasman.
Saturday’s derby, the first without fans due to the Covid-19 restrictions, saw five Pirates players making their debut in the epic fixture – Dzvukamanja, Thabang Monare, Thulani Hlatshwayo, Wayde Jooste and Richard Ofori.
Chiefs on the other hand had an all-familiar line up and the club are currently prohibited from registering new players owing to a Fifa ban.
To reach the final, Amakhosi must do the unthinkable and hit Pirates for three to level the game.