Chiefs brush aside Stellies to book quarter-final spot
A buzzing but toothless Kaizer Chiefs kept alive their slim hopes of getting at least one piece of silverware this season when they brushed aside First Division outfit Stellenbosch FC 2-1 to qualify for the last 8 of the Nedbank Cup in Durban on Saturday night.
Eric Mathoho's header from Bernard Parker's corner kick in the 27th minute and Leonardo Castro's fine finish in the 65th minute were enough to ensure Steve Komphela's side joins Baroka FC, Ubuntu Cape Town and Free State Stars in the quarterfinals.
Stellenbosch did, however, create a tense last 14 minutes for Chiefs fans after they pulled one goal back through their defender Alan Robertson who beat Itumeleng Khune with a closer header from Iqraam Rayners' corner.
But given Amakhosi's unconvincing in this match their progress in this competition will depend on the strength of their opponents in the last 8.
When the draw is conducted in Cape Town on Thursday Amakhosi will be hoping to avoid facing the big guns that might include Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates and league leaders Mamelodi Sundowns who will play their last 16 matches on Wednesday and Tuesday respectively.
With the possession and acres of space that Chiefs were afforded by their frozen opponents in this match, the score line once again showed how blunt Komphela's team is in front of goals.
Had Siphiwe Tshabalala and Parker taken the gilt-edged chances they had in the first stanza, and Joseph Molangoane's not missed an empty net in the 61st minute, Chiefs would have gone home with a healthier victory.
There were some good build up in the midfield by Willard Katsande, Tshabalala and Molangoane but the final ball and finishing left much to be desired for the over 10 000 hordes of Chiefs fans who graced the occasion.
Still smarting from their demoralising 3-1 league loss to Pirates in the Soweto derby last week, Komphela tried a new combination up front, surprisingly leaving Chiefs top scorer this season Ryan Moon on the bench to test a fresh pair of Leonardo Castro and Parker.
But the duo seem to get in each other's path at times as they tended to fetch the ball deep in the middle, leaving no target man to aim at when they had the ball.