Chiefs behind the eight-ball
Kaizer Chiefs have a mountain to climb if they are to make good on their wish to progress to the group stages of the Caf Confederation Cup after suffering a 3-1 defeat to Zambia’s Zesco United in the first leg of a play-off match at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium yesterday afternoon.
The away goal gives Amakhosi some leeway but they will have to win the second leg by two goals or more without Zesco replying to stand a chance of advancing further. It was always going to be difficult for Ernst Middendorp’s side who are still in a rebuilding phase against an already well-oiled Zesco team.
Chiefs held their own in the first few minutes of the match, but the hosts broke the deadlock 25 minutes in when Lazarus Kambole opened the scoring. Jesse Were increased the score to 2-0 just six minutes later from the penalty spot, and it looked as if Amakhosi were headed for a heavy drubbing.
But Khama Billiat (below) reduced the arrears in the 42nd minute to take Chiefs into halftime with a chance of staging a fightback in the second period.
But it was not to be as easy for the Soweto giants as Were got his second of the match nine minutes into the second half to make it 3-1 and this time the visitors were not able to come back.
The Glamour Boys tried everything to find another goal but found the Zesco defence standing firm.
With time running out, Middendorp took a calculated risk and withdrew defensive midfielder Willard Katsande, replacing him with striker Ryan Moon.
But unfortunately the gamble didn’t work as they could not find the goal that would have made their job easier.
Chiefs now turn their focus to their ailing Absa Premiership campaign and prepare for what is potentially a six-pointer against AmaZulu in Durban on Wednesday night.