Mihlali Baleka at the FNB Stadium
KAIZER CHIEFS (0)
HOROYA AC (0)
JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs shared the spoils with Horoya Athletic Club after a goalless draw in their first match of the Caf Champions League group stage at a cool FNB Stadium a short while ago night.
This result favoured the Guineans who remained at the summit of Group C with three points, given that they won their first game against Petro de Luanda at home. Chiefs, on the other hand, are third with just a point.
The Glamour Boys were playing their first game in the group stage after their away match against Wydad Casablanca was postponed at the 11th hour two weeks ago – after the Moroccans cited strict medical restrictions in their country due to Covid-19.
The two teams, however, will play the postponed game on Sunday at a neutral venue in Burkina Faso at Stade du 4 Août. With Chiefs’ domestic campaign having hit troubled waters as they are ninth on the standings, they’ll be looking for redemption in this competition.
— Kaizer Chiefs (@KaizerChiefs) February 23, 2021
But they’ll know that’s easier said than done. Winning home matches is usually the fuel that drives teams far in the competition, considering that away matches are difficult to win – that aided by the hostile treatment the home teams usually give.
Having endured a six-game winless streak in their domestic campaign, Chiefs wanted a change of fortunes in continental football. So much that they showed vigour from the outset here, pressing the Guineans in the final third.
They were not clinical, despite coach Gavin Hunt starting with two strikers, Leonardo Castro and Samir Nurkovic respectively. Bernard Parker had his team’s first chance but he unceremoniously ballooned his effort into the empty stands.
But perhaps the real chance for Chiefs belonged to Nurkovic. After being linked up with a delightful cross by Reeve Frosler, the big Serb bulldozed his way between two defenders but he unfortunately put his header over the crossbar.
Horoya may have been chasing shadows for the better part of the first half but they should have taken the lead to the interval. After a defence splitting pass from the engine room, Abdoul Nikiema found himself on a one-on-one duel with goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.
But the striker failed to capitalise, lobbying his effort wide off goal – with Khune in no man’s land. In what was a lacklustre first half, both teams went to the break still holding ducks. But that was still a favourable result for Horoya who were playing for a draw.
The Glamour Boys scored twice early in the second half. But both goals didn’t stand after Nurkovic was judged to be offside on both occasions. Castro should have saved his team from the blushes, but he put his pin-point shot wide off target.
With time running out on Chiefs’ attempts to get the breakthrough, Njabulo Blom hit a close-range effort that was parried for a corner-kick by Moussa Camera. Khune, though, ensured that his team saved a point, denying the Guineans from close-range.