The moment Kaizer Chiefs fans got what they’ve been wanting
The Soweto outfit’s results on the continent have been in marked contrast to their domestic performances in Gavin Hunt’s first season in charge
By Anthony McLennan – goal.com
Kaizer Chiefs supporters were given a rare chance to celebrate this season when their team showed great courage to salvage a 2-2 draw against Horoya FC at the General Lansana Conte Stadium in Conakry on Saturday night – thereby sealing their spot in the Caf Champions League quarter-finals.
At the end of a tension-filled game and an especially pulsating second half, a Daniel Cardoso penalty and a Khama Billiat goal meant Chiefs finished above Horoya in Group C – courtesy only of a better head-to-head record.
The two sides had previously played to a 0-0 draw in Gauteng and so it was Amakhosi’s two away goals that proved critical.
It’s a fantastic achievement for a Chiefs side who had never even made the final group phase in Africa’s premier competition, prior to this season’s run.
However, the Glamour Boys certainly did make things hard for themselves and it was anything but a convincing performance.
Mistakes were made and Chiefs were badly exposed for both the goals they conceded while Horoya spurned a string of great chances to score more.
There was also a big slice of fortune for Chiefs’ opening goal in that they were awarded a penalty for a cross by Dumisani Zuma, which flew very quickly and from a short distance into a defender’s shoulder area.
On the positive side though, the Soweto side showed great resilience to go and get the result they needed away in Guinea.
And there was plenty to like about their second goal, scored by Billiat. It was a beautifully-crafted effort as Nkosingiphile Ngcobo drove towards the opposition box before cleverly slipping in Zuma down the left flank, from where he cut the ball back across goal for Billiat to steer home with a neat, first-time volley.
It was the kind of goal Chiefs fans have been craving – bearing in mind there has been criticism of Amakhosi’s tendency to go the direct route and use the aerial strengths of Samir Nurkovic and Leonardo Castro. who were absent through suspension and injury, respectively/
Caf Champions League Match Day 6
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Ngcobo, Zuma – who had a big impact off the bench on Saturday – and, when on form, Billiat, are the kind of players who get supporters off their seats and excited about their team.
And so, to see the trio teaming up so promisingly for the crucial second goal, was certainly an added plus on a rare good day for the club this season.
There’s also the possibility that Billiat’s goal could spark a revival in the fortunes of a player whose best days were at Mamelodi Sundowns.