Kaizer Chiefs come from behind to seal famous win over Mamelodi Sundowns
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CAPE TOWN – Embattled Kaizer Chiefs overturned a first-half 1-0 deficit to score an upset of humongous proportions when they defeated DStv Premiership log-leaders Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1 at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Tshwane, on Sunday afternoon.
The result marked Sundowns' first Premiership defeat this season. This reverse will be welcomed by the chasing pack which are led by AmaZulu, who are three points adrift after 24 matches. Sundowns, after 22 matches, are on 47 points.
The outcome also spoilt the 50th birthday celebrations of Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi. Chiefs nevertheless moved into a top-eight slot for the first time in a long time.
Sundowns sounded an early warning of how they might hurt Chiefs when midfielder Gastón Sirino unleashed a low drive from outside the penalty area after good work by teammate Lyle Lakay. The shot forced a full-length dive from Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, but the ball skidded wide of the upright.
Over the rest of the first half, Sundowns dominated to the extent that they enjoyed an overall 70% possession. They had to wait for 29 minutes before they could open their score.
Chiefs managed to absorb the early pressure and did well with limited possession, and by the time the first half ended, they had outscored 6-4 in the shots-on-goal count. The best first-half scoring chance fell to Chiefs striker Leonardo Castro who latched on to goalmouth feed from fellow attacker Khama Billiat. For a moment, Castro was left unmarked but, in his eagerness, to convert, he blasted the ball over the crossbar from plumb in front in the striking zone.
Just after Chiefs spurned another scoring chance, Sundowns' lone striker Gift Motupa initiated an attack from the left flank. Just ahead of the opposition penalty area, Motupa's slide-rule pass to Sirino went unchecked. Sirino worked his way past Khune while coping with two defenders and scored from an acute angle in the 34th minute.
Chiefs were left to rue a first half of wasted opportunities by the time referee Phillip Tinyani sounded the halftime whistle.
Just ahead of the change-over, Chiefs suffered a setback when Billiat left the field injured after a workmanlike first-half performance. Dumsani Zuma replaced him, and he could have scored a minute after he joined the fray, in added injury time. However, he skied his parting shot after Reeve Frosler reeled in an invitingly low cross into the Sundowns penalty area.
The opening minutes of the second half saw half-chances emerge at either end, but Sundowns looked the more likely to score. Their patient, slick inter-passing game opened up the Chiefs rear guard just past the hour mark, but Khune produced a great save with a sliding tackle.
After this let off, Chiefs introduced Serbian Samir Nurkovic for Lebogang Manyama. Nurkovic was surprisingly overlooked in the run on XI.
With his second touch, Nurkovic' fired a goalmouth cross which deflected off Sundowns centre back Mosa Lebusa past goalkeeper Denis Onyango. With this own goal, Chiefs finally managed a goal.
Two minutes later, Chiefs turned the match on its head by taking the lead after a lightning break, sparked by Njabulo Blom and brilliantly rounded off by substitute Zuma (2-1).
Over the rest of the match, Chiefs managed to keep their slender lead intact and clinch a famous win over the pride of South African football.