CAPE TOWN – Kaizer Chiefs survived an onslaught of mighty proportions from Simba SC in Dar-es-Salaam to advance to their maiden CAF Champions League semi-final on Saturday afternoon.
Playing infront of 10 000 passionate Simba SC spectators, Amakhosi had to muster all their courage to hold on to their four-goal advantage from the first leg.
Their Tanzanian hosts launched an avalanche of attacks on the Chiefs goal which kept Bruce Buvuma occupied throughout. Buvuma, playing ahead of Amakhosi legend Itumeleng Khune, was hero for Chiefs despite conceding three goals on the day as he made numerous saves to keep the Simba SC attackers at bay.
The hosts opened their account through captain John Bocco in the 24th minute to give the Simba faithful hope that they could indeed pull off miracle.
And when Bocco doubled Simba's lead just before the hour mark, there was real belief within the Tanzanian champions.
The Chiefs defence remained under threat and was eventually breached by Clatous Chama in the 86th minute to set up an enthralling finale.
Back came Simba with more attacks from the restart and it require more resolute defending and great goalkeeping from Buvuma as the fourth official put the up the scoreboard showing five extra minutes of injury time.
Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt made a double substitution at this point by throwing on Anthony Akumu Agay and Willard Katsande in the bid to bring some compusure to his team, who were now pegged back virtually inside their own 18-yard area.
A few more timely interceptions and last-gasp tackles kept Chiefs slender lead intact though as the entire Amakhosi team slumped to the ground through pure exhaustion when the referee eventually blue his full-time whistle.
It is a staggering achievement by this Chiefs side, who are currently languishing in 10th place on the Dstv Premiership log, to reach the CAF Champions League semi-finals for the first time.
Hunt's charges are now also South Africa's sole representatives remaining in the continent's premier competition after Mamelodi Sundowns were dumped out by Al Ahly on Saturday.