An improved Kaizer Chiefs beat a resilient Mpumalanga Black Aces 2-1 in an action-packed quarter-final encounter in the Telkom Knockout at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday. Camaldine Abraw and Erick Matoho gave Amakhosi that passage into the semi-finals of the competition. Chiefs displayed attacking play which appeared missing from the league game against Jomo Cosmos in midweek when just three minutes into the game Abraw found the back of the net.
This was after eye-catching passing play from Siphiwe Tshabala and Reneilwe Letsholonyane before Abraw fired past Aces goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane for the opener. The goal unsettled the hosts as Edward Manqele’s left footer also went wide. The Soweto giants peppered Amazayoni’s goal area with their short and incisive passes.
The hosts went close to finding the equaliser when Collins Mbesuma’s thunderous effort, which clearly beat Itumeleng Khune, struck the underside of the bar in the 16th minute. This set the stage for a classic spectacle from both teams as they displayed attacking football. The Mpumalanga-based team came close again in the 18th minute but midfielder Lebogang Manyama saw his glancing header going wide.
At the other end, Sibonsiso Gaxa let fly a sizzler that could only be tipped over the bar by Mabokgwane. Eric Mathoho jumped highest and headed in the resultant corner to make it 2-0 at the break to Steve Komphela’s lot. On resumption the Glamour Boys continued to play a high line pressing Aces in their own half.
In the 55th minute Abraw’s left volley flew past the upright by inches. Gaxa also skied his effort from six yards out after a cut back from Manqele. Siphelele Mthembu and Bernard Parker were thrown into the fray to add more attacking verve in the 70 and 74th minute respectively.
That was the same time Muhsin Ertugral’s charges came into the picture and took the game by the scruff of the neck. Thanduyiso Khuboni’s plucky effort was saved by Khune but then, after a beautiful one-two between Tshidiso Tukane and Lehlohonolo Nonyane, the latter sent in an inviting cross that was neatly converted by Sibusiso Masina in 80th minute.
Ertugral’s players had their tails up. Khuboni again saw his shot going wide. On the stroke of full-time Tshabalala slipped into the six-yard box when he had the hosts goalkeeper at his mercy. At the other end Masina had his last minute shot blocked by man-of-match Lucky Baloyi as Komphela’s team progressed to the semi-finals.