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Happy Mashiane of Kaizer Chiefs celebrates goal with teammates during the DStv Premiership match between Kaizer Chiefs and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila at FNB Stadium on January 19, 2021 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Kaizer Chiefs snapped an eight-match winless run with an impressive 2-0 win over Angola’s Petro de Luanda in their CAF Champions League Group C game at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.
In what was Chiefs’ first ever win in the CAF Champions League Group stages, they found something that worked for them and, importantly, kept a clean sheet.
The result leaves Chiefs in third place in Group C with four points from three matches and they are right back in the hunt now to secure a place in the tournament playoffs.
Their inferior goal difference means that AC Horoya, also on four points, stay second with a game in hand.
Chiefs will need to reprise this performance when they head to Luanda for the corresponding fixture on March 16.
It wasn’t a game that had many chances, but it contained plenty of action.
Chiefs, who were disjointed in their 4-0 loss to Wydad Casablanca, were far removed from that rabble performance.
They spent less time on the ball, but moved quickly to create space for each other.
Chiefs are still paying their Champions League school fees, but in their two group games before this one, they’ve clearly learnt one of the most important lessons.
That is to start fast and get the early goal.
That their goal came on the half-hour mark through Eric Mathoho’s powerful header from a Nkosingiphile Ngcobo header was reward.
They needed to get something from the pressure they had applied to the Angolans.
Chances were few and far between, but when Reeve Frosler and Philani Zulu pressed hard down the flanks, the visitors were flustered.
That Mathoho goal also made Chiefs realise that Petro were vulnerable to set pieces and long balls.
They didn’t have Samir Nurkovic and Leonardo Castro to aim for, but Lazarous Kambole and to an extent, Willard Katsande were the target men.
Chiefs’ only other chance of the first half came in the 45th minute when Mathoho put his shot over the bar.
Significantly, Chiefs’ defence was stingy enough to keep Petro from having a decent shot at goal.
In the second period, Chiefs continued to apply the pressure through set-pieces and long balls.
They should have gone 2-0 up in the 61st minute, but Daniel Cardoso’s header cannoned off the upright.
Six minutes later, Happy Mashiane had a powerful shot that was well saved by Petro goal keeper Dominique.
He wasn’t to be denied in the 79th minute when he not only won the ball in midfield, but motored past four defenders before unleashing a right footed shot that gave Dominque no chance.
Dominique was again called on to make a save in the 89th minute when Ngcobo sliced through two defenders and tried to dink a shot past him.
He stood firm, but his team who slipped to a third defeat and out of quarter-final contention, didn’t.
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