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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Launching attack after attack at the Kaizer Chiefs bunker, Simba come up just short in CAFCL second leg comeback effort

Riding a four-goal victory from the first leg, South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs continued their surprise run in the CAF Champions League, losing 3-0 in Tanzania against Simba SC but doing just enough to prevail 4-3 on aggregate. The underdogs now advance to the semi-finals where they will take on Wydad Casablanca.

Lacking the ability to keep possession at a high level, it seemed likely that Kaizer Chiefs were going to have to wait out a storm of Simba chances on the road and the first half cemented this theme. Chiefs’ star striker Samir Nurkovic cut a frustrated and isolated figure throughout the opening 45 minutes as the hosts launched attack after attack at Bruce Bvuma’s goal, the keeper doing well to come up with a couple of big saves.

Simba found their first goal in the 24th minute when a 3-on-2 break ended with Tanzania international striker John Bocco being fed by Cletus Chama, his low shot finding its way through Bvuma. Considering Simba had eleven shot attempts in the opening stanza, Chiefs were relieved to only have conceded one goal thanks to Bvuma, who earlier in the season was the third-string goalkeeeper.

If Chiefs thought the first half was a storm of attacks coming their way, then the second half was a hurricane by comparison. Simba threw numbers forward knowing that the visitors lacked any ambition of finding an away goal. Captain Bocco continued to find opportunities and he scored his second in the 56th minute to keep the momentum going for Simba by lurking on the far post and providing the finish when a Luis Miquissone cross deflected through to him.

Kaizer Chiefs did excellently to hold the hosts at bay despite the fired up home crowd urging their team on for more goals. Amakhosi kept Simba from finding any clear cut chances and managed to give themselves just a bit of breathing room until late in the match, all of which they needed. In the 86th minute Simba’s pressure finally earned them their third goal when Zambian playmaker Chama showed his calm composure in the Chiefs penalty area by dribbling in and finding a low finish.

However, a furious end to the match saw Simba come up just short and Chiefs celebrating their unlikely advancement to the semi-finals. 32 shots and 10 shots on goal were not quite enough for the Tanzanian giants to overcome the deficit and their elimination at the quarter-final stage will be remembered as a disappointment considering the opponent and their excellent continental form prior to the knockout round. Kaizer Chiefs will continue their underdog story in the semi-finals against either Wydad Casablanca or MC Alger. Highlights are below.