Kaizer Chiefs – Club 3 – Season 1 – Update 3
Welcome back to my Pentagon Challenge, where I left you all on a cliff hanger in my last update! We had just beaten Vita Club 2-1 away from home in the CAF Champions League Quarter finals ahead of the second leg at our home FNB Stadium. We have some massive games coming up in today's update, including the quarter final second leg and a game against second placed Maritzburg United in the Nedbank Cup quarter final, so without further ado lets see how we got on!
Our first game, as mentioned above, was a Nedbank Quarter final clash between ourselves and Maritzburg United. I was hoping to progress as I feel that we have one of the stronger squads in South Africa and can beat anyone on our day, however we slipped to a narrow 1-0 home defeat after an early goal from Maritzburg. Amazingly, this was my first defeat in my Kaizer Chiefs career after 14 games, but I was still disappointed as I felt we could have won the cup this season.
Just 3 days later, we welcomed Vita Club into our backyard with a slim 2-1 lead and I was hoping to get an early goal to really put the pressure on the DR Congo side. We did start the game well and Nxele finally put us ahead on 27 minutes after a plethora of chances before Bernard made it 2-0 5 minutes before half time. With the aggregate score at 4-1 I thought the tie was won before Vita Club put a bit of doubt in my mind with the last kick of the first half.
Another 2 goals would see Vita progress on away goals so we went back on the attack in the second half and found another 2 goals from Pires and Nxele to see us through to the Semi-finals 6-2 on aggregate!
Following the win we were drawn with Ajax Cape Town, who had topped the league table upon my arrival in South Africa, however some dreadful recent form has seen them slip to 5th place so I have some confidence going into the tie.
The Semi finals were just 2 weeks away and we faced 2 league games before the first leg, with varying results. First up we faced top of the league Orlando Pirates and were smashed 4-0 in a humbling defeat, before we restored some dignity in a 3-0 win over minnows Highlands Park.
Once again, the first leg of the semi final was away from home as we travelled to Cape Town in a massive inter-country tie. Bernard who has been on excellent form recently was given the nod up top once again and he repaid the faith with a massive away goal after 16 minutes before Ajax pulled level just before the half hour mark. Ajax seemed to gain the upper hand after their goal, but their momentum was blown away with a 71st minute red card. I was actually happy to settle for a draw given Ajax’s dominance, but new signing Bouzidi had other ideas and powered in a massive header in the 91st minute to once again give us a slim 2-1 win going into the second leg.
After our Champions league victory, we remained in Cape Town as we faced the same opponents, again away from home, however this time in the league. We really needed a win to keep pace at the top of the league, however we rested a few players with the second leg in mind and were made to pay with a 1-0 defeat.
The second leg was the focus and just 7 days after the first leg we met Ajax Cape Town for the 3rd time in the space of a week with both teams winning 1 game. A draw was enough to see us through to the final where we would face Tunisian giants ES Tunis, but we couldn’t rely on it and once again we went on the attack from the off.
Once again it was the main man Nxele who got us off to the best start with the opening goal in the 19th minute. He didn’t stop there however as he secured his brace just 3 minutes later, before completing an incredible 10 minute hat-trick on 29 minutes! A quite incredible 10 minutes which put us 5-1 up on aggregate and in a commanding position. Ajax did pull a goal back before half time with first leg hero Bouzidi turning villain with an own goal that opened the door for second half comeback. We weren’t in the mood for a comeback however, and Nxele made it 4 goals for both us and him and secured progression to the final with another 6-2 aggregate win.
As mentioned, we will face ES Tunis in a one-off final which will be in the next update. From a brief look at their squad I feel like we have a chance – could we be completing the African leg of the journey in less than 6 months?
Below you can see all the games from this update, as we won all of the important games, but slipped up in a few league games which is disappointing.
With those league defeats we have slipped to 6 points off the top of the league, although we do remain in 5th place and have some games in hand over teams above us.
There is only really one man to talk about here and that is of course Nxele. He has now notched up an amazing 33 goals in 44 goals and is on a massive purple patch which has powered us into the Champions League final. Winger Pires and Bernard have also been putting in a decent shift and they both have double figures for goals scored this season now. Attacking midfielder Tshabalala has also been on a good run of form following his injury and now has 5 goals and 5 assists.
A great run of form in the Champions League and we are now just 1 win away from completing the second leg of the Pentagon Challenge! The issue that I have now is that if we don’t win the final, it looks unlikely that we will qualify for the Champions League football next season given our poor league form and our exit from the cup, so it really is all on that one game.
*Join me tomorrow as we will be playing all of our remaining games, including the Champions league final! Let me know your score predictions and thank for reading!*