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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Kaizer Chiefs edge Pirates in Soweto Derby courtesy of Nurkovic strike

Kaizer Chiefs picked up a massive 1-0 win over rivals Orlando Pirates in Sunday’s Soweto Derby to breathe some life into their DStv Premiership campaign. Top goalscorer Samir Nurkovic made the difference with a cagey finish soon after halftime to go along with a strong defensive performance as Amakhosi move into ninth place in the table. On the other side Orlando Pirates continue a season-long theme of failing to follow through on opportunities to make a firm claim for second place.

Neither goalkeeper was tested in the opening quarter-hour with both teams not too eager to take risks in the opening stages. Chiefs started to show a bit more focus on their attacks and earned the match’s first real opportunity just shy of 20 minutes. Veteran attacker Bernard Parker drew the Bucs defense close before quickly moving the ball out wide to an open Happy Mashiane, but the midfielder didn’t get enough on his first-time effort to threaten goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane.

Chiefs took a firm hold after the early opportunity and were the more threatening team for large portions of the match. The Pirates defense did well to deny Nurkovic before halftime thanks to quality defending. However, Amakhosi were rewarded shortly after the break when Pirates broke down defending a set piece. Thulani Hlatshayo did well to clear Reeve Frosler’s 54th minute wide service high into the air but Hlatshayo’s teammates allowed the ball to bounce. Lazarous Kambole contested the resulting bounce and nodded a pass to Nurkovic, who had a defender on his back but smartly performed an improvised overhead kick to loft the ball over a helpless Mpontshane.

Following the goal Pirates scrambled to get back in the match with their opponents content to sit back and hold the lead. However an equalizer was just not on the cards as Chiefs put up a formidable wall to keep the Bucs in front of them. Nurkovic had an excellent opportunity to put the match away in the 78th minute when Pirates were caught forward but the Serbian laced his effort high and wide. Deon Hotto’s set pieces and sharp buildup play generated some good opportunities for the trailing team but Orlando Pirates lost their nerve in finishing positions.

With the loss Pirates fail to overtake second place Golden Arrows and will have a long break until their next match against Al Ahly Benghazi in the CAF Confederation Cup. Chiefs will next shift their focus to the CAF Champions League with a match against Moroccan giants Wydad on the horizon. Check out highlights from the Soweto Derby below.