CHICKEN INN . . . . . . . . . (1)1
MAMELODI SUNDOWNS 0
AGAINST all odds, Chicken Inn put up a sublime act and overcame South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns in an exciting preliminary round first leg tie of the 2016 CAF Champions League watched by a good crowd that rallied the GameCocks at Bulawayo’s Barbourfields Stadium yesterday.
Striker Michelle Katsvairo rode over a Wayne Arendse tackle and powered a gem of a goal past Sundowns goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands in the 34th minute.
Devine Lunga’s long clearance was met by Tafadzwa Kutinyu in the centre of the park. Kutinyu picked Katsvairo who beat his marker before unleashing a thunderbolt.
That was all the GameCocks needed to register their first win in a high profile match which many thought the Brazilians, who last lost a match in September in the Absa Premier Soccer League against Golden Arrows, would easily win.
Chicken Inn held on to that first half goal, keeping Sundowns’ attacking pair of Keagan Dolly and Leonardo Castro at bay with solid defence play from the central defenders Lawrence Mhlanga and Moses Jackson.
Without Khama Billiat, who was withdrawn at the last minute owing to a stiff hamstring and replaced by Themba Zwane, the Sundowns’ attack was not the usual that has mesmerised many a defender in the Absa PSL.
Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas was happy with the win, but expects a tough assignment at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria in two weeks.
“To tell you the truth, we went out to try and play for a nil-nil, but I am chaffed about the win. The boys maintained their tactical discipline and we closed them down on a few areas. The boys put up a good show and the defence was solid. It will be a difficult assignment in the second leg,” Antipas said.
Sundowns’ gaffer Pitso Mosimane conceded defeat, but is hopeful of overturning that in Pretoria.
“We could not even catch the rhythm. We did not have the energy to up it. The difficult part was the injuries. That was a great goal. The game we played on Wednesday [against Orlando Pirates] was heavy and the turf here was heavy. It was better to keep Billiat out than to play him and lose him for the second leg,” Mosimane said.