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Samir Nurkovic's wonder goal steers Kaizer Chiefs to victory over Orlando Pirates

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Kaizer Chiefs striker Samir Nurkovic celebrating his goal against Orlando Pirates (Gallo Images)
Kaizer Chiefs striker Samir Nurkovic celebrating his goal against Orlando Pirates (Gallo Images)

It was set up to be an exhilarating encounter but the 100th Soweto derby was a match of two halves that ended 1-0 to the unfancied Amakhosi over the Buccaneers.

The first league Soweto derby took place in 1971, 50 years ago, and in this one, Orlando Pirates were targeting a fourth win over Kaizer Chiefs this season.

It was also the first league derby happening on a Sunday since 1994 but the first 45 minutes was a dull affair with plenty of ball possession for the Buccaneers as Chiefs failed to make the most of their goal threatening chances.

23-year-old Happy Mashiane was involved in the first serious goal threat of the match as he burst down the right flank and teased in a low cross that was badly dealt with by the Pirates defence. Amakhosi captain Bernard Parker latched on to the ball from 30 yards out and confidently attempted a strike at goal that flew over the crossbar at pace.

Despite seeing a healthy amount of the ball in the opening 16 minutes, the Buccaneers could not dismantle the Glamour Boys' stubborn defence.

On the contrary, with the minimal ball possession, Chiefs could easily have taken the lead before the half-time whistle.

Parker was once again in the thick of things as he cleverly played in Mashiane, who found himself inside the penalty area with space but his attempted low strike towards the left corner was easily handled by Siyabonga Mpontshane.

Minutes before the players headed towards the tunnel, Parker was on the right flank in a counter-attacking move with Samir Nurkovic awaiting in the box. 

The Chiefs captain played a perfect ball across for the Serbian but Thulani Hlatshwayo managed to slice the ball away from danger.

Pirates mentor Josef Zinnbauer showed his intent to claim a fourth consecutive win against Chiefs as he made two changes before the second half got underway, bringing Fortune Makaringe and Kabelo Dlamini to replace Linda Mntambo and Ntsikelelo Nyauza.

Meanwhile, in the opposite dugout, Gavin Hunt held his cards close to his chest, which paid off minutes after the second half whistle sounded.

In his first Soweto derby goal, the lanky Nurkovic stood strongly in the 18-yard area as the ball bounced up from a poor defensive clearance and the Serbian heroically went for an overhead kick that sailed into the back of the net.

It was the sort of impetus this mammoth encounter needed, as the Buccaneers began pushing forward with strong intent.

Makaringe came close with an effort from outside the penalty area, which caught goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi off guard but to his dismay, it went narrowly wide.

Pirates kept moving the ball around and pushing more black shirts forward searching for a leveler.

Hunt began looking into a change and took off Nkosingiphile Ngcobo with Darrel Matsheke replacing the 21-year-old.

Mashiane once again orchestrated a counter-attacking move that freed up Nurkovic with a chasing Hlatshwayo just off his shoulder. As he careered forward, the Serbian went for power instead of precision and saw his effort at goal go over the crossbar.

That would also be Mashiane's final moment in the match as he was replaced by Philani Zulu.

The Buccaneers kept applying the pressure with Nurkovic and Hlatshwayo going at it with each other in a feisty standoff after Serbian fouled the Bafana Bafana international.

But Amakhosi kept their opponents at bay and claimed a vital three points to dent the Buccaneers' title chances.

The victory sees Chiefs move to ninth place on the DStv Premiership while title chasing Pirates drop to fourth on the standings.

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