Sun, 20 Sep 2020

Chiefs emerge victorious in 8-goal thriller

08 Dec 2019, 07:43 GMT+10

Cape Town - Kaizer Chiefs had to come from behind three times before securing a thrilling 5-3 victory over Bloemfontein Celtic in Durban on Saturday night.

A hat-trick from Samir Nurkovic and a brace from Leonardo Castro helped Amakhosi overcome a spirited Celtic side and extend their lead at the top of the Absa Premiership table to 10 points.

Chiefs headed into this game on a run of seven straight victories in the PSL but faced a formidable opponent who were on a five-game unbeaten run themselves and had clearly come to play.

The Free State outfit started strongly and were almost ahead in the fourth minute when Chiefs keeper Daniel Akpeyi failed to deal with an incoming free kick, creating an opportunity at the far post for Mzwanele Mahashe, who somehow missed the target with his header.

Nine minutes later, the opening goal did arrive for Phunya Sele Sele courtesy of a fantastic counter attack. Lantshene Phalane picked out Ndumiso Mabena with a beautiful long ball, and the former Pirates man coolly cut inside before stroking the ball past Akpeyi at the near post.

The league leaders needed to respond and they did so less than 10 minutes later through Serbian striker Samir Nurkovic. A long ball from Lebogang Manyama found its way to Nurkovic unmarked at the near post, and he took one touch before firing past Mondli Mpoto to level the scores.

It took just three minutes for Celtic to go back in front as Chiefs were again caught napping on the counter, Mabena playing provider this time for Harris Tchilimbou, who fired the ball into the back of the net.

Again, Chiefs needed an answer and again Nurkovic was the man to provide it. Celtic failed to deal with a Manyama corner, and a flick from Daniel Cardoso found the Serbian, who scored his second of the night.

Incredibly, Celtic went ahead for the third time just four minutes later, the Chiefs defence once again made to look ordinary as Tebogo Potsane threaded a through ball to Siphelele Luthuli, who lashed the ball into the bottom corner to make it 3-2.

Celtic managed to take that lead into half-time, but it didn't last much longer than that. Three minutes into the second half, Chiefs were level again from another setpiece, a dangerous corner from Manyama that picked out Leonardo Castro, who headed home despite a last-gasp effort to clear it off the line.

Chiefs thought they were ahead in the 54th minute when Nurkovic headed in Castro's cross, but the goal was disallowed for a foul in the build-up.

Another goal always seemed on the cards, however, and Chiefs did finally take the lead for the first time in the match shortly after the hour mark. Having been denied minutes earlier, Nurkovic did get his hat-trick on this occasion as he latched onto a pass from Castro at the far post for a simple tap-in.

Ten minutes later, the turnaround was well and truly completed as Castro headed home Chiefs' fifth and his second from another Manyama corner as Amakhosi held on for what turned out to be a pretty comfortable win in the end.

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