Nine-man Chiefs stay on track for quarterfinals
● Kaizer Chiefs are warming to this Caf Champions League group-stage thing, nineman Amakhosi fighting to a 1-0 victory over Wydad Casablanca at FNB Stadium last night that saw the Soweto giants remain in the fray for the quarterfinals.
Perhaps, though, Chiefs warmed a touch too late. Though it was a worthy victory for Gavin Hunt’s men, Horoya’s 1-0 win over Petro de Luanda in Angola, where Chiefs drew, still leaves Amakhosi needing a result in Guinea in the final fixture (a draw with goals, or a win by the head-to-head permutations). Chiefs and Horoya, who drew 0-0 in Johannesburg, are on eight points in Group C and Wydad on 10.
Chiefs had goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi redcarded in the 40th minute. Bernard Parker headed them ahead in the 48th. Samir Nurkovic became the second Amakhosi player dismissed, in the 89th minute.
Wydad were all North African structure, but also plenty of theatrics. They lacked their normal imperious player-power having left stars in Morocco. Faouzi Benzarti also did not travel, reportedly to take a Covid-19 vaccine.
Amakhosi suffered a setback with what seemed strange officiating from Egyptian referee
Ibrahim El Din. Akpeyi misjudged the bounce of a ball outside his box, and caught it. El Din adjudged it a professional foul.
Itumeleng Khune came on, Lebogang Manyama making way.
A low-slung missile lob by Khune released Nkosingiphile Ngcobo down the left. The midfielder’s cross was intercepted by centreback Amine Farhane, but looped to Parker on the right, who cleverly placed a header past keeper Aissa Sioudi.
Nurkovic went up for a ball, Farhane going down screaming — a trait of the Wydad players all night — and the Chiefs striker received his second yellow. The Serb’s first had come in the first half when Farhane also fell screaming.