It must have eaten him up for months when he missed a penalty in a 2-1 loss to Orlando Pirates in a league game on 30 January, but Samir Nurković answered his detractors in the best way possible as Chiefs defeated Orlando Pirates 1-0 in a DStv Premiership game on Sunday afternoon at the FNB Stadium. Nurković with a sublime overhead kick in the 54th minute scored the game’s only goal on a historical day as the teams were meeting for a 100th time in the league and the 50th time in the PSL era. The Serbian attacker becoming the first player born in Europe to score in a league game against Pirates for Amakhosi in the PSL era.
Although beaten in the first round of the season, Chiefs were in no mood to be dominated again and losing another game. Skipper Bernard Parker made Amakhosi’s intentions clear with a rasping drive at goal from distance in the third minute, which went just over Siyabonga Mpontshane’s goal.
After a cagey start in which Pirates tried stretching Chiefs with their wing play, it was Amakhosi in the 20th minute who managed to do that when Nkosingiphile Ngcobo won the ball from Siphesihle Ndlovu on the left wing playing a quick one-two with Reeve Frosler, before managing to roll the ball to Parker to his right, who in turn beat off the challenge of Vincent Pule and teed up Happy Mashiane with another ground ball to the right. Mashiane from just inside the right side of the Chiefs 18-yard area attempted to curl the ball past Mpontshane at the far end, but the Pirates keeper got down to stop the ball which lacked power.
Ngcobo was working himself more into the game and in the 25th minute, managed to pick out Nurković with a short pass on the left corner of the Pirates’ 18-yard area, with a great piece of skill, he turned Siphesihle Ndlovu and fired the ball past Mpontshane but into the side netting. Ngcobo was growing in confidence and in the 27th minute unleashed a wicked curling drive from around 25 yards out again. The ball went inches over Mpontshane’s cross bar.
In the 38th minute, the Pirates keeper had to make another sav,e this time off a header from Mathoho who had risen highest to meet a free kick from Reeve Frosler, but the assistant referee running the line on the right flank wrongly raised his flag to indicate an offside as the Chiefs players attacked the ball.
A first half which saw Pirates dominate the stats, but which saw Chiefs put up a good defensive showing as well as creating the better opportunities ended 0-0.
Pirates made two changes at the start of the second half to try and stop Chiefs.
Chiefs took the lead in the 54th minute. Pirates initially cleared a free kick from Ngcobo on the right with Thulani Hlatshwayo heading the ball away from goal, it leaped up and bobbled around the Pirates 18-yard area with Ben Motshwari and Ndlovu uncertain as to who should deal with it. Lazalous Kambole then jumped in and headed the ball goal-wards away from Ndlovu. With Hlatshwayo also hesitating to clear, he managed to find Nurković. With his back to goal, the Serbian striker although being tracked by Innocent Maela, managed to spectacularly connect with the ball and send a sublime overhead kick past Mpontshane to give Chiefs the lead.
Pirates created their best chance of the game in the 69th minute. Mathoho attempted a clearance under pressure from Kabelo Dlamini but could not execute the clearance. The ball felled to Fortune Makaringe who went beyond Ngcobo. His drive at close range went past the right hand up right and out for a goal kick, with Chiefs retaining their lead.
Nurković in the 78th minute had the perfect chance to put the game beyond Pirates reach. He was sent clear on goal by a beautifully threaded pass from Mashiane. As he got close to goal, he attempted to drive the ball powerfully past Mpontshane. While he got the ball past the Pirates keeper, he failed to hit the target and the ball went high and wide. Shortly thereafter, a good move from Pirates ended with Dlamini looking to put the ball past Akpeyi, but the Chiefs keeper got down to gobble up the ball.
Things got physical in the final minutes with Pirates resorting to major gamesmanship. They could not stop Chiefs recording back-to-back home league wins in successive seasons, something that Amakhosi achieved for the first time since 2002-03 and 2003-04.
A morale boosting victory for Amakhosi who climbed into 9th place on the standings, and take township bragging rights with them as they ended Pirates ten game unbeaten run in all competitions.
Fact of the Game:
This was the 100th league meeting between Chiefs and Pirates and it was Amakhosi’s 41st win. Chiefs leading Pirates in head-to-head league wins. It was also the 50th in the PSL era in the league with Chiefs now winning 14 to Pirates 12.
Number of the Game 70:
In the 173rd official meeting between the sides, Chiefs registered their 70th win over Pirates. Keeping up their historical dominance over their Soweto rivals. Nurković scored Chiefs 221st goal in these games and became Chiefs 77th different goal scorer in an official derby against Pirates.
Most Valuable Player (MVP):
Chief’s defence was well disciplined and strong. Daniel Akpeyi kept his 10th clean sheet of the season in all competitions. Frosler was the man of the match and well deserved. There were notable performances from Kambole, Parker and Nurković, who was the match winner.
Chiefs: Akpeyi; Frosler, Ngezana, Cardoso, Mathoho, Mashiane (Zulu 83’), Blom, Ngcobo (Matsheke 76’), Parker © (Agay 90+2’); Kambole, Nurković
Subs not used: Bvuma; Moleko, Sasman, Katsande, Lesako, Radebe
Pirates: Mpontshane; Hlatswayo ©, Maela, Nyauza (Makaringe 46’), Mako, Motshwari, Monare (Mhango 79’), Ndlovu, Pule (Mabasa 71’), Hotto, Mntambo (Dlamini 46’)
Subs not used: Sandilands, Mabaso, Dzvukamanja, Tshobeni, Jooste
Chiefs are next in action after the FIFA International break when they host Wydad in the CAF Champions League Group Stages 3 April.