The Soweto giants are through to the competition’s mini-league phase for the first time in their history
Leonardo Castro’s first half strike sent Kaizer Chiefs into the group stage of the Caf Champions League following a 1-0 first round, second leg victory over Primeiro Agosto away at 11 November Stadium in Luanda on Tuesday.
After the first leg ended 0-0 at FNB Stadium on December 23, Chiefs went through on a 1-0 aggregate scoreline as they maintained a clean sheet in four games in this competition.
For all their domestic troubles, progressing to the group phase for the first time ever is a huge feat for Amakhosi.
Coach Gavin Hunt started almost the similar squad he started in the home leg, making a few changes by bringing in the line-up Bernard Parker, Castro and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo.
The Soweto giants looked a completely different side from the outfit that has been struggling on the domestic front.
Their major threat came from set-pieces with Eric Mathoho heading just over the bar off a Khama Billiat freekick after Castro had been fouled 15 minutes into the match.
Another Billiat freekick three minutes later was a cause for concern for the hosts as Siyabonga Ngezana’s diving header went off target.
With Chiefs the more threatening side, Agosto responded through Honduras forward Bryan Velasquez who lobbed Akpeyi but Mathoho was at hand to clear the goal-bound ball in the 26th minute.
Amakhosi escaped another raid on 31 minutes after Mabululo’s headed effort went over the bar before another dangerous attack four minutes later had Daniel Akpeyi save Manico’s powerful grounder.
Billiat continued to be a menace to the Agosto defence, shooting just wide following some nice exchanges with Castro a few moments later.
The resultant counter attack from the goal-kick caught Chiefs defenders napping with Mabululo breaking lose but his low drive narrowly missed goal after beating Akpeyi in what was the best chance of the first half.
Castro then broke the impasse four minutes from half time when he connected Billiat’s cross from the left.
The goal appeared to have fired up Chiefs who saw Ramahlwe Mphahlele heading just over the cross bar from yet another Billiat freekick just before the break.
The game’s momentum had been lowered after the restart but Velasquez’s had a freekick side-netting when Bernard Parker had fouled Natael on the edge of the box two minutes into the second stanza.
The Angolans showed a bit of hunger to claw their way back into the match with Mabululo missing with his head at point-blank range off a cross from the left on 53 minutes.
The pressure from the hosts kept Chiefs defenders busy with Velasquez’s shooting at goal while surrounded by three opposition players but his effort sailed just wide in the 63rd minute.
Hunt then introduced Samir Nurkovic for Castro and the Serb awakened Chiefs’ momentum as Agosto then fizzled out.
The hosts appeared to have given up and did not cause problems for Amakhosi towards the end as the visitors were firmly in control of the contest although Congolese defender Bobo Ungenda headed wide in what was Agosto’s last meaningful effort of the game five minutes from time.