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Phala exits former TKO champs

A GOAL in extra time from former Amakhosi midfielder Thuso Phala saw Platinum Stars knock the defending Telkom Knockout Champions, Kaizer Chiefs, out of the competition after beating them 2-1 at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The home side started the better of the two teams and were fashioning chances early on as they used the width of the field to create problems for the Amakhosi defence.

In the seventh minute Thuso Phala pressed down the right flank and supplied a teasing cross into the box for Ruben Thebekang to latch onto, but his 12-yard volley went narrowly wide.

Two minutes later and it was Elias Ngwepe causing concern down the left flank when he beat two defenders on his way into the box before laying the ball off to an unmarked Joseph Molangoane just inside the 18-yard area, but his shot also went agonisingly wide.

As the half progressed Chiefs slowly started to gain the ascendancy and began controlling matters.

In the 21st minute George Lebese came close to breaking the deadlock for the Soweto Giants when a quick turn on the edge of the box saw him shoot with his weaker right foot, but his effort went just over crossbar.

Seven minutes later and inform Amakhosi midfielder, Lucky Baloyi, beat one defender before firing a thunderbolt goalwards, but again the shot went wide as it skimmed the wrong side of the left-hand upright.

Then, in the 37th minute, very much against the run of play, the home side were able to take the lead when they hit on a swift counter-attack.

Sibusiso Msomi broke down the right flank and supplied the perfect cross to find Henrico Botes at the back post and the Platinum Stars striker made no mistake with a clinical volley from six-yards out, 1-0.

Going into the half time break, Chiefs would have been bitterly upset with the scoreline especially considering they dictated terms for the most part.

The second half saw the Amakhosi on the attack from the first whistle and Reneilwe Letsholonyane nearly drew his side level four minutes after the restart when Sthembiso Ngcobo slipped him through on goal. But the Mpontshane was quickly off his line to smother the Chiefs attacker.

Chiefs continued to press forward and finally in the 62nd they found the equaliser.

Siphiwe Tshabalala was the creator and did all the hard work as he drove down the right, working his way into the box before passing a sublime ball to an unmarked Ngcobo six yards out from goal and he made no mistake side-footing the ball home, 1-1.

This made for a cagey final half hour and Platinum Stars nearly stole the win in the 85th minute when Mbhuyiselo Sambu latched onto a goalmouth scramble at a corner-kick and toe-poked the ball goalwards, but he saw his effort cleared off the line by Jimmy Tau.

Two minutes later and Lehlohonolo Majoro also had to clear a Mkhabela header off the goalline to save his team.

After a frantic final couple of minutes the match ended 1-1 and the game moved into extra time.

The scene was set for a player to put his name in lights and the man to take the opportunity was former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Thuso Phala when he handed his side victory with a 104th minute goal in extra time.

Substitute Terrance Mandaza put Phala behind the Chiefs defence with a great through ball. Phala, though, still had plenty of work to do as he drove towards the goal from about 40-yards out and as he made his way into the box, Bartman came off his line and the Platinum Stars man powered the ball past him to win the match 2-1.

Platinum Stars (1) 2 (Botes 37’, Phala 104’)

Kaizer Chiefs (0) 1 (Ngcobo 62’)

Teams

Stars: Mpontshane; Mere, Sambu, Semenya, Ngwepe, Molangoane (Ramolesa 77’), Mkhabela, Phala, Thebekang (Ng’ambi 75’), Msomi, Botes (Mandaza 98’)

Chiefs:Bartman, Tau, Sweswe, Lawler (Isaacs 46’), Jambo, Letsholonyane (Majoro 55’), Baloyi, Nengomasha, Lebese (Nale 68’), Tshabalala, Ngcobo.

The rest of Telkom Knockout’s last 16 results are: Orlando Pirates 2 v Black Leopards 1, Ajax Cape Town 1 v Free State Stars 0 and BidVest Wits 1 v AmaZulu 0.-Backpagepix

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