Chiefs need penalties to get past Leopards in TKO

Virgil Vries (Gallo Images)
Virgil Vries (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Kaizer Chiefs battled back from a goal down to beat Black Leopards 4-2 on penalties after their Telkom Knockout first-round tie finished 1-1 at the FNB Stadium on Sunday.

Giovanni Solinas' side struggled to get into their stride in the first half and found themselves trailing to Phathutshedzo Nange's 34th-minute opener.

But Amakhosi restored parity through Hendrick Ekstein early in the second half and hit the woodwork twice, while Lidoda Duvha were also denied by the frame of the goal.

After extra-time brought no further goals, Virgil Vries was the hero for Chiefs with two saves in the shootout.

Black Leopards meant business in Soweto as they looked to take the game to the record 13-time winners of the cup competition from the get-go.

Virgil Vries was called into action after just two minutes when he raced off his line to save at the feet of Mwape Musonda, who had been played clean through on goal.

Kaizer Chiefs threatened for the first time on seven minutes when Ekstein carried the ball into the box and drew a routine save out of King Ndlovu with a left-footed shot from 13 yards out.

Chances continued to come at both ends, as Musonda flicked Joseph Mhlongo's low cross beyond the far post with his in-step on 12 minutes, before Ndlovu was forced to tip over Bernard Parker's dipping free-kick from 22 yards out two minutes later.

Willard Katsande should have opened the scoring moments later when a miscued shot found him in space eight yards out on the left, but the midfielder got under the ball and cleared the crossbar comfortably.

Nene wasn't far away from finding the target with a driven strike from 25 yards out that flashed just wide of the left post on 18 minutes, and the visitors went even closer eight minutes later as Lesedi Kapinga turned Musonda's low cross against the bar from close range.

Lefa Hlongwane hit a snapshot narrowly wide of the left post from the edge of the box on 29 minutes, while Musonda was allowed to turn on the right before shooting straight at Vries from 18 yards out soon afterwards.

Parker tested Ndlovu with a left-footed strike from 18 yards out on 33 minutes, but the breakthrough came at the other end of the pitch moments later as Nange made a strong run into the box before lashing a left-footed shot in off the bar from 16 yards out with two defenders ahead of him.

Parker was unlucky not to equalise on the stroke of half-time after seeing his thumping strike from 25 yards out on the right come back off the left post.

The first chance of the second half came the way of Lidoda Duvha when Nene blasted a first-time shot over the bar from 21 yards out after being teed up from a 50th-minute corner to the back post.

But Amakhosi hit back 13 minutes later as Ekstein showed a good first touch to bring down Parker's ball over the top and slotted past Ndlovu from 11 yards out.

Musonda forced Vries into a good save with his curler from 20 yards out and Tumelo Khutlang blazed the rebound across the face of goal from inside the area on the right with 15 minutes on the clock.

Jean Munganga failed to punish slack marking from Chiefs in the 88th minute as he headed a deep corner wide at the back post, while Ryan Moon saw his shot on the turn from 18 yards out deflected inches wide of the left post in stoppage time.

Chiefs went closest in the first half of extra time, with Moon latching onto Kabelo Mahlasela's threaded pass on the left and striking the near post from a tight angle on 100 minutes, before the striker headed over from the resulting corner.

The Glamour Boys were almost made to pay for switching off at the start of the second period when Tumelo Khutlang advanced into space on the left before shooting wide of the far post from the edge of the box.

Ndlovu was alert to the danger on 109 minutes as he denied Mahlasela from eight yards out on the left after good build-up play involving Moon and Siphelele Ntshangase.

Katsande was next to be denied by the frame of the goal when his rasping strike from 22 yards out hit the outside of the left post with four minutes to go, while Hlongwane could have won it for Leopards late on, only to hit the side-netting from an angle on the right.

Penalties were required to separate the two teams in the end, and Chiefs held their nerve better to win 4-2 in the shootout.

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