Johannesburg – Kaizer Chiefs made light work of an under-strength Mpumalanga Black Aces to safely secure their passage into the semifinals of the MTN8, courtesy of a 4-0 win at FNB Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Kingston Nkhatha effectively killed the game inside five minutes following a relentless assault on Aces' goal, before Mandla Masango twice added the finishing touches to a thoroughly comfortable outing for the Glamour Boys.
Chiefs join Wits, Platinum Stars and Soweto neighbours Orlando Pirates and will know their fate on Monday afternoon, with the semifinal draw scheduled for a midday start in Johannesburg.
The quartet make up a an exact replica of last season's last four, with Chiefs the last team to book their spot/ They did so in style, as Letsholonyane's delicate finish was followed by the strike of the tournament from Nkhatha, who sent shock waves through the stadium with a delightful volley from 20 yards.
Aces would have felt slightly aggrieved before the start of the first round encounter, after losing new signings Edwin Gyimah and Collins Mbesuma due to administrative pitfalls which have seen a number of players sidelined as their work permits and South African representations are yet to be finalised and completed.
Stars goalkeeper Bafana Nhlapo gifted Chiefs possession from a careless clearance down the middle, allowing Maluleka to lay off to Letsholonyane, before George Lebese presented the final pass, which put Letsholonyane through on goal.
Letsholonyane's simple conversion from dead in front was followed by a spectacular volley from Nkhatha, who hit his effort first time after a pass from Maluleka found his man outside the area.
Nkhatha thundered the bottom of the crossbar and watched as his shot bounced past Nhlapo, who had no answer for the rocketed attempt from some way out.
Aces were living dangerously and had no answers for the home side, who made it look easy. Nkhatha struck the upright, before Mandla Masango forced a brilliant, close-range, stop from Nhlapo as Amakhosi continued to pile on the pressure.
Leading comfortably at the break, Chiefs were content to allow Aces to hold on to the ball, but made no mistake on the hour mark when Masango buried the hosts' third of the afternoon.
Tsepo Masilela flighted a stunning ball forward and found Masango out wide on the right, before the pacey winger made a darting run at goal, rounding the goalkeeper and slotting home into an empty net to put the game beyond doubt with half-an-hour to go.
Nhlapo was kept busy throughout and twice denied the home side further success after thwarting Lebese and second-half replacement and newcomer to the Amakhosi ranks, Siphelele Mthembu.
Chiefs were rewarded for their continued ventures into the opponents half late in the game and capped a hugely successful result with Masango's second, in almost identical fashion to his first, as the wide-man completed his brace from a well-taken effort from a tight angle just minutes from the end. – Sapa