Durban – A clever finish by Bernard Parker early in extra-time helped Kaizer Chiefs complete a trophy double with a 1-0 victory over SuperSport United in the Nedbank Cup final in Durban on Saturday.
With the scores locked at 0-0 after regulation time, the Bafana Bafana striker scored in the 94th minute from just outside the area, handing Amakhosi the title for the 13th time in their history, and the first in seven years.
It ended a fine first season in charge for Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter, who last week guided them to their first Absa Premiership crown in eight seasons.
The game, which was tense for most parts, started out feistily, with both sides hardly shy to stick a foot in, and referee Zolile Mthetho finally lost his patience by cautioning Bevan Fransman.
Some half-chances arrived when Sibusiso Zuma’s dangerous cross in the ninth minute was cleared away at the near post, while Lehlohonolo Majoro was caught off-side when he fired straight at Ronwen Williams.
There was a better opening for the Pretoria side after 20 minutes when a Franklin Cale free-kick was flicked on neatly by Kermit Erasmus, although the ball was directed straight at Itumeleng Khune.
The Chiefs keeper then had to throw himself at a dangerous Innocent Mdledle cross that was not dealt with by his defenders, deflecting the ball wide for a corner that came to nothing.
Siboniso Gaxa finally had the first real chance for Chiefs before the half-hour mark when a Siphiwe Tshabalala corner from the left picked out the defender inside the box at the far post, but the effort was struck tamely wide.
SuperSport’s best opportunity until that point came six minutes before the interval when Erasmus played in George Maluleka, who sliced between two defenders inside the box and shot over.
After the restart both teams looked determined to attack more, and 10 minutes in, Tshabalala dropped his shoulder just outside the box and fired ambitiously over.
At the other end, a direct run by Erasmus took him beyond his marker and into the dangerzone from where he stabbed wide.
That passage of play appeared to lift both sides and it took a fine Williams save to keep them level after 65 minutes. Edwin Gyimah was poorly dispossessed by George Lebese on the left and the midfielder’s cross picked out Parker, whose shot from the edge of the box had to be clawed over by the United keeper.
Majoro had a fantastic chance to seal the win two minutes from time after he was played in on the left by replacement Siyabonga Nkosi, but the striker delayed his shot as Gyimah shut him out.
However, the partisan Moses Mabhida Stadium crowd did not have to wait much longer for the opener as Parker collected from Tshabalala and fired left-footed beyond the reach of a helpless Williams.
SuperSport were reduced to 10 men two minutes into the second period of extra time when Zuma picked up an injury and could not continue, with his side already having used their three substitutes.
Mogogi Gabonamong came closest to an equaliser with five minutes to play, but his downward header was punched away by Khune as Chiefs held on. – Sapa