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Durban – Goals in each half by Sthembiso Ngcobo and Kingston Nkhatha helped Kaizer Chiefs book their place in the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup with a 2-0 victory over Polokwane City at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday night.
The opening goal came after 32 minutes when striker Ngcobo sprung the off-side trap to finish from close range, before substitute Nkhatha added a second in the 74th minute when he swept home from fellow replacement Bernard Parker.
The last 16 victory over the National First Division (NFD) side ensured Stuart Baxter’s team will be in the hat for the last eight draw to be held next week.
Both teams made lively starts on a warm night on the east coast, the men from Limpopo showing additional spring in their step against the Soweto giants.
Ngcobo had the first opening inside the first five minutes when Siphiwe Tshabalala swung over a free-kick from the left that was headed over.
At the other end Puleng Tlolane, the visitors’ best player of the half, pocketed his way into some space inside the box, before dragging his shot wide.
The same Polokwane midfielder then exquisitely curled in a corner that forced new Bafana Bafana captain Itumeleng Khune to acrobatically punch away.
The First Division side continued to apply pressure and Kagiso Mashishi produced the first big chance of the game with a rising 20-yard shot that made the Amakhosi goalkeeper throw himself to his right and tip over.
Moments later Esau Kanyenda’s low shot also forced Khune to save, but this time it was a routine one to his left, while another long-rang shot drifted agonisingly wide with the Chiefs custodian scrambling.
Ngcobo then blasted wide for the home side from the left side of the box, before making no mistake with the opener after the half-hour when he was slipped in by Kaizer Motaung Jnr and finished calmly despite the complaints by some of the visiting defenders.
Five minutes later Tshabalala had another ambitious crack from outside the box with the ball ballooning over.
Just before the break, Siyabonga Nkosi should have found the target after Polokwane keeper Nkueni Mayala made a hash of a cross, but the veteran midfielder stabbed wide from a low Ngcobo cross.
After the restart, the goalscorer was again in the thick of things as he darted down the right flank and unselfishly cut the ball back to Mandla Masango, who scooped his shot over.
The visitors were still keeping the Chiefs players on their toes and Kanyenda tested Khune with a deflected effort, before another great chance went begging at the other end after Ngcobo broke away on the left and saw his weak shot cleared on the line by Million Mkhabela.
Chiefs finally got their second goal 16 minutes from the end when replacements Parker and Nkhatha combined – the former played into space on the right and crossing for the latter to finish from close range.
Masango twice had chances to add to Chiefs’ tally, but was wasteful in the box as his team completed a comfortable win. – Sapa