Serbian striker Samir Nurkovic scored his first goal of the season as Kaizer Chiefs ran riot in their DStv Premiership clash against Chippa United on Saturday.
Johannesburg — Kaizer Chiefs kept their chances of finishing in the top two alive following their 3-1 victory over strugglers Chippa United in a DStv Premiership match at a cool Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, out in Gqeberha, on Saturday afternoon.
This victory kept Amakhosi in third place in the league, but they still trail leaders Mamelodi Sundowns by 13 points. Chippa, on the other hand, are 13th with 21 points, four points ahead of basement dwellers Baroka.
Chiefs went into the international break on a sour note. They lost to Arrows, while they had learned that the PSL wanted to review the arbitration award of arbitrator Nazeer Cassiem, who ruled that the games they forfeited must be played.
Although they were hellbent on changing their fortunes against Chippa, their coach Stuart Baxter still went for a cautious approach. He rested most of the players that were on international duty, with Bafana’s Keagan Dolly starting on the bench.
Full time score: (Bienvenu 46’) Chippa United 1 : 3 Kaizer Chiefs (Nurković 23’, Dolly 75’, Alexander 88’)
— Kaizer Chiefs (@KaizerChiefs) April 2, 2022
However, the most notable inclusion in Saturday’s match-day squad was that of goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune. Khune hadn’t featured for the team for the better part of the campaign, having last played in the MTN8 last eight back in August.
Samir Nurkovic and Khama Billiat led the line for Chiefs, with Phathutshedzo Nange and Njabulo Blom controlling all operations in the engine room. Nurkovic and Billiat combined well in the first half where they linked up for the early lead.
Goalkeeper Brandon Petersen unleashed a pin-point long ball that found Bernard Parker who released Billiat on the by-line. The latter sent a cut-back pass that passed Roscoe Petersen before it met Nurkovic who guided it home.
However, that should have been the Serbian’s third goal of the afternoon. Before that goal, Billiat had whipped in a telling cross which found Nurkovic who casually placed his effort with his weaker left foot wide of the post of Kazapua.
But the Namibian goalkeeper would again deny Nurkovic with a great save after Billiat had teed up with the Serbian, who unleashed a curler, from close-range. Those blemishes meant that Chiefs went into the interval just a goal up.
However, Amakhosi squandered that lead very late into the second stanza thanks to their porous defence. Riaan Hanamub unleashed a great weighted pass that found a free Bienvenu Eva Nga who beat Petersen with a low and hard shot.
Chiefs nearly found an early response, but it was not to be as Nurkovic’s diving effort was saved by Kazapua. The latter was having a busy day in the office, having also saved Ramahlwe Mphahlele’s header from close-range earlier.
Kazapua nearly gifted the visitors the lead after allowing the ball to bounce off his chest before it rolled to the path of Kearyn Baccus who placed his header against the crossbar. But soon thereafter, Billiat won a free-kick outside the box.
That set-piece awarded Chiefs a deserved lead. Billiat made a short pass to substitute Dolly who nicely unleashed a thunderbolt shot that sailed into Kazapua’s top corner. Cole Alexander hit the final nail in the coffin from close-range.