DURBAN, March 10 – Kaizer Chiefs booked their spot in the 2018 Nedbank Cup quarter-finals after easing to a 2-1 win over National First Division club Stellenbosch FC at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday night.
A first-half header by Erick Mathoho and a goal from Leonardo Castro midway through the second half in Durban made it a fairly comfortable evening, despite the visitors having given themselves some hope when they pulled one back 13 minutes from time.
Chiefs were on top for the opening stages of the game but struggled to create clear-cut opportunities and it was only in the 27th minute that Stellenbosch keeper Washington Arubi was called into play, the Zimbabwean doing outstandingly to keep out his countryman Teenage Hadebe’s header, following a Siphiwe Tshabalala free-kick.
But it was from the resultant corner that the NFD outfit found themselves 0-1 down as Erick Mathoho headed in Bernard Parker’s delivery from six yards out.
The Cape side looked a bit shell-shocked but still managed to get in a couple of chances on goal, both through Iqram Rayners, but the first was deflected into Itumeleng Khune’s arms, while the second was a wayward effort from a good position on the edge of the box.
Chiefs though could have extended their lead before halftime, but Tshabalala fired over after some good work by Willard Katsande out wide, before Arubi pulled off a stunning save to palm Parker’s fierce volley away from goal.
Tshabalala was showing signs of his creative best and he opened up the Stellenbosch defence with a defence-splitting pass 15 minutes into the second half to put in Joseph Molangoane, but having rounded Arubi with some nifty footwork, his parting shot from a tight angle hit the outside of the post
Chiefs’ constant probing for a goal was to pay off in the 65th minute when Castro ran on to Parker’s flock before smashing the ball through the hands of Arubi and into the net.
But the deficit was reduced in the 77th minute later when against the run of play, Steve Barker’s team managed to pull a goal back after Alan Robertson headed in a corner kick with a near-post glancing effort.
Stellenbosch showed spirit as they went looking for an equaliser, but the Glamour Boys were able to play out the closing minutes without much of a threat to their goal as coach Steve Komphela kept himself in with a chance at claiming some elusive silverware.
– African News Agency (ANA)