Kaizer Chiefs’ tenacity kept them in contention throughout their Group C campaign for the Caf Champions League quarterfinals‚ and it was a remarkable fighting performance in Conakry, Guinea on Saturday night that saw them reach that stage with a dramatic 2-2 draw against Horoya.
In fact, Gavin Hunt’s men clawed their way through a tough 90 minutes with such determination that Amakhosi now might fancy their chances of an upset in the quarters too.
Wydad Casablanca‚ 2-0 winners at home to Petro de Luanda (one point)‚ ended top of Group C on 13 points.
Chiefs and Horoya ended on nine apiece. On the head-to-head ruling‚ with Horoya having drawn 0-0 in Johannesburg‚ Chiefs progressed through benefit of away goals scored in the games between the two.
Horoya’s big men troubled Chiefs for the opening hour‚ including when Yakhouba Gnagna Barry headed the Guinean combination ahead two minutes into first-half injury time at Stade General Lansana Conte. From there it was all action‚ Daniel Cardoso pulling one back from the penalty spot in the 67th‚ winger Oula Abass Traore re-establishing the lead in the 69th‚ and Khama Billiat scoring the decisive equaliser in the 76th.
Missing both big strikers Samir Nurković and Leonardo Castro‚ Hunt had Billiat back in his starting line-up upfront‚ behind Lebogang Manyama as the No 9 in a somewhat makeshift strike combination.
After Lazarous Kambole replaced Happy Mashiane from the break‚ Dumisani Zuma came on for Manyama in the 65th. Moments later the substitute’s attempted cross was handled by defender Khalid Diaw. Cardoso struck the penalty into the top-middle‚ as keeper Robert Odongkara dived right.
Chiefs’ levelling of matters lasted all of two minutes. Another delivery from Baffour Kyei‚ from a corner on the left‚ was headed past Itumeleng Khune by Traore.
Again‚ Amakhosi were up for the fight. They had drawn level once‚ so knew they could again. Their second came from a neat‚ classically quick-passing build-up‚ Reeve Frosler outside feeding Nkosingiphile Ngcobo in the left channel‚ who put Zuma into space down the flank to square‚ Billiat knocking the finish past Odongkara.
If Chiefs have been victims of gamesmanship throughout the group stages‚ they felt no compulsion to do any differently 14 minutes from a famous result‚ as players took their time recovering from “injuries”.
Khune’s desperate save at the end from a lobbed attempt at goal kept his team in the quarters.
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