Chiefs defeated Primeiro de Agosto 1-0 in the second leg of their CAF Champions League first round clash to progress to the group stage of the competition for the first time.
In hot and humid conditions, Chiefs put up a brave performance at the 11 de Novembro Stadium as they scored the game’s only goal with a well worked move in the 41st minute with Leonardo Castro turning home Khama Billiat’s lay-up.
GIVEN THE HEAT, CHIEFS NEEDED TIME TO SETTLE
Given the heat and high levels of humidity, Chiefs needed time to settle and the hosts took to take advantage of this.
A ball over the top of the Chiefs’ defence in the 26th minute saw Brayan Moya free on goal and he attempted to get the ball past Daniel Akpeyi.
However, the Chiefs ‘keeper stuck out a hand and got the ball away from danger before Mulomowandau Mathoho came in and cleared the danger.
Chiefs broke the deadlock four minutes before the half-time break with a well worked move which saw Billiat break down the left.
He took on Primeiro defender Beaudrick Ungenda – first taking the ball wide of him before cutting back into the opposition’s 18-yard area.
He again passed the luckless defender and squared the ball towards Castro who knocked the ball home with a combination of knee and thigh, past a helpless Joaquim Cabaça to give Chiefs the lead.
CHIEFS’ ‘KEEPER AKPEYI WAS KEPT BUSY
In the second half the hosts looked like they were content with throwing high balls into the box as Chiefs’ ‘keeper Akpeyi felt the brunt of their force as he was upended a number of times by the hosts attackers, in particular Cristoyao Paciencia who was making it an all-round difficult afternoon for the Chiefs net minder.
The Primeiro attacker was clearly frustrated after missing a host of guilt edged opportunities in the first half.
He was not getting the kind of space and time on the ball he was seeking, with the Chiefs defence quickly closing him down.
There was also time for Samir Nurković to make his first appearance of the campaign coming on as a 76th minute substitute for goal scorer Castro.
NURKOVIC MADE A WELCOME RETURN FOR CHIEFS
The Serb marksman made his long-awaited comeback from a series of injuries which kept him out of action since the culmination of last season.
Akpeyi who was in the battle zone all afternoon long came up trumps in the final minutes of the game as he saved a close range header from Amrozini Salvador in the 87th minute on the goal line to keep his goal intact and rack up Chiefs fifth successive clean-sheet in the CAF Champions League and their fourth of the current campaign in the tournament.
Amakhosi will return from Luanda on Wednesday high in confidence after this victory and will eagerly await their group stage opponents. With the draw set to take place on Friday, 8 January.
Number of the game: 1
Chiefs are the first South African team to defeat Primeiro in an African Club competition game in Luanda, they had previously won all three continental games at home against South African clubs. Chiefs are also the first team from South Africa to keep a clean-sheet in an African club competition game away from home against Primeiro.
Fact from the game
Chiefs are the sixth South African PSL Club to reach the group stages of the CAF Champions League along with Ajax Cape Town, Mamelodi Sundowns, Manning Rangers, Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United. With Chiefs reaching the group stages, only Algeria (9) and Nigeria (8) have had more different teams reaching the group stages of the CAF Champions League than South Africa.
Most Valuable Player (MVP)
Daniel Akpeyi had a great game and was ably assisted by a strong back line who came to his aid on a number of occasions with Mathoho and Ramahlwe Mphahlele doing well to ensure that Chiefs kept a clean-sheet. Billiat again showed his class when setting up Castro for the game winner this was his sixth assist in his 15th game in all competitions this season.
Chiefs XI: Akpeyi; Mphahlele (captain), Ngezana, Mathoho; Zulu, Matsheke (Cardoso 75’), Blom, Parker (Zuma 89’). Kambole; Billiat (Moleko 89’), Castro (Nurković 74’)
Substitutes not used: Bvuma; Mashiane, Ngcobo
Primeiro: Cabaça (capital); Masuekama (Mbala 85’), Ungenda, Da Costa, Caetano (Salvador 73’), Balbureia, Moya, Paciènca, Ganga, Gonçalves (Ipamy 62’), Pedro (Emane 46’)
Substitutes not used: Simeo, Macilenho, Vidal
Chiefs are next in action this Saturday, 9 January when they come up against Maritzburg United in a DStv Premiership encounter.
Kick-off is at 17:00 at FNB Stadium.