Home Sport Chiefs sneak into Top 8 with TS Galaxy win

Chiefs sneak into Top 8 with TS Galaxy win

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At the end of a difficult campaign, Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs beat TS Galaxy on Saturday to book their place in next season’s MTN8.

Kaizer Chiefs’ Samir Nurkovic celebrates with Bernard Parker
Kaizer Chiefs’ Samir Nurkovic celebrates with Bernard Parker after scoring the winning goal during their DStv Premiership match against TS Galaxy at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday. Picture: Dirk Kotze, BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – At the end of a turbulent outing, there was a sigh of relief for Kaizer Chiefs. Chiefs will play in the MTN8 competition next term after beating TS Galaxy 1-0 on the final day of the DStv Premiership at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Chiefs’ turbulent outing included recording their lowest point tally (36), despite finishing eighth on the standings. But they’ve also made headlines for the wrong reasons recently, firing coach Gavin Hunt and replacing him with interims Arthur Zwane and Dillon Sheppard.

Chiefs’ turnaround was completed this week as they recorded back-to-back wins against Golden Arrows and Galaxy. But despite the midweek victory, which was propelled by a hat-trick from Lebogang Manyama, Chiefs needed to be mentally prepared for The Rockets.

After all, this is a side that they’ve never defeated in their last two meetings, while the last time Chiefs finished ninth on the standings, Galaxy went on to add more misery to their season – the then second-tier division outfit defeating them in the final of the Nedbank Cup in Durban.

Last term, Chiefs found themselves in a similar position: needing a win on the last day of the season in order to reach the Promised Land. Then, though, they were chasing the bigger prize, the title. But things went south for them as they were pipped by Mamelodi Sundowns.

In Nelspruit, Chiefs’ Promised Land was a top-eight spot. It is an uncharacteristic target for a team of their calibre but after the turbulent season they had, it was a positive end to their campaign, nonetheless. They came to this game ninth on the standings, behind Galaxy.

The permutations were simple for Chiefs: get a win and they’ll be home and dry. But it was Galaxy who showed vigour from the outset as they knew that a draw would be enough for them to play MTN8 football next season. But the home side’s effort didn’t bear instant results.

In their first shot on target, they were denied the opener by goalkeeper Bruce Bvuma. With the progression of the game, Chiefs started to find their footing – with their only change from the starting lineup against Arrows, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, orchestrating play going forward.

That sense of progression yielded the perfect start for Chiefs. Right-back Reeve Frosler whipped in a long throw-in which Kamogelo Mahlangu flicked towards his own goal where the big Serb Nurkovic was waiting, as he headed home the erratic clearance to put Amakhosi ahead.

The Rockets had the second shot on target just before the interval but that didn’t matter as Mxolisi Macuphu’s header was comfortably collected by Bvuma. Heading into the last half, Chiefs just had to keep a clean sheet in order to ensure they play in the MTN8 competition next term.

In the second half, though, Galaxy dominated most of the possession. But their efforts didn’t count as Bvuma stood between them and a goal. In the end, it was a job well done for Chiefs who’ll turn their focus to the Champions League’s semi-final against Wydad Casablanca on June 18.

@Mihlalibaleka