JOHANNESBURG – Once again Kaizer Chiefs needed extra-time to get past an amateur team in the Nedbank Cup. Magic FC put on a brave performance in two hours of football to leave Amakhosi spellbound for most of it.
One mistake undid all their hard work just before the end of the first half of extra-time when Howard Davids brought down Khama Billiat in the box. Daniel Cardoso stepped up like he did in the Soweto Derby to score his second goal in two matches from the penalty spot.
Philani Zulu and Billiat made it more respectable with a scoreline that flattered Chiefs and didn’t tell the full story.
Everything about this match was surreal for the Magic FC players. They got a taste of playing in a venue that hosted the 2010 Fifa World Cup (Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium) in their duel with the country’s cup kings. They played in kits that had their surnames on their back, a luxury they don’t have in the ABC Motsepe League.
The millions of people who watched all over the country made up for the disappointment of their family and friends being unable to watch them live in Cape Town due to the club unable to secure a venue in the Mother City.
Magic were unfazed by all of that against a giant of South African football. They took the match to Amakhosi in a classic David v Goliath duel. Coincidentally a real David, Kannemeyer that is, led the amateur side from the bench against his former team Amakhosi. The 41-year-old Kannemeyer sat next to the club’s technical director and owner, George Dearnaley, on the bench in what was a big afternoon for Magic.
The extra motivation for the players was that they would share half of the R250 000 they would receive for stunning Amakhosi to reach the last 16. That didn’t happen but they would have left Port Elizabeth with their heads held high.
Chiefs were cautious in how they approached the game. Ernst Middendorp fielded a strong starting XI to ensure that Chiefs doesn’t lose to a lower division team for a fifth time in the Nedbank Cup’s history. The German started with two out-and-out strikers, Leonardo Castro and Ryan Moon, with Bernard Parker operating on the right flank. Instead of two forceful attackers, Chiefs had two poles in Moon and Castro.
The pair had the best chances to put Amakhosi ahead. Moon hit the woodwork and Castro blazed a good opportunity after turning Magic’s defence inside-out. The longer the score remained goalless, the more anxious Chiefs’ players were while the club’s supporters grew frustrated in the stands – resorting to even telling Middendorp to make changes as his preferred starting XI wasn’t delivering.
The minnows kept their composure even when Amakhosi piled on the pressure. Their calm demeanour saw them play the ball out of the back even when they were being pressed. Goalkeeper Bulelani Cola worked hard to keep his side in the game. Cola almost denied Cardoso from the spot-kick.
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But the Chiefs defender’s penalty was too powerful for Cola’s trailing leg. The floodgates then opened in Chiefs’ march to the last 16. Amakhosi will learn who they will face in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
They’ll probably be hoping for a Premier Division side as these minnows have given them nerve-wrecking moments.
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