Kaizer Chiefs looking to build on Sundowns win

Kaizer Chiefs will be looking to build on their big weekend win over DStv Premiership leaders Mamelodi Sundowns when they welcome Chippa United to the FNB Stadium for a midweek clash on the afternoon of Wednesday 28 April 2021.

Kick-off is at 3pm CAT.

Chiefs became the first team to defeat Sundowns this season when they claimed a 2-1 away win on April 25, courtesy of an own goal and strike from Dumisani Zuma. The result broke a three-game winless streak for the Soweto side and pushed them back into the top eight – albeit only on goal difference at this stage.

Yet the Amakhosi have generally fared better away from home this season – 16 points from 11 matches on their travels compared to 12 from 12 as hosts – and will need to prove that they can produce a performance of similar intensity at FNB Stadium. They did so in beating Orlando Pirates back in March, but their two league games at Soccer City since then have been disappointing: a 2-2 draw with Stellenbosch FC and 2-1 loss at the hands of Cape Town City.

“We deserved it a little bit,” said Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt. “We were playing a few people out of position. It is what it is. We battle our way through it. We should be better in the league but we’re not. We’re fighting on a couple of fronts. We’ll take one game at a time.

“We play Wednesday and then Saturday so it’s a lot of games coming and we’re going to have to try and manage the team and go from there.”

Chippa, meanwhile, saw their winless run extended to 11 matches when they were held 0-0 at home by Golden Arrows on April 25. The point is a valuable one as they scrape together all they can in their battle against the dreaded drop, though they remained second-from-bottom and desperately need a lift as the final stretch of the campaign approaches.

The Chilli Boys, like Chiefs, have generally fared better on their travels – 10 points from 13 matches compared to eight from 11 – though their last result on the road was a stringing 5-1 defeat at Maritzburg United in early April.

“There is still time left in the season and we can move away from the relegation zone,” said interim coach Siyabulela Gwambi, who now has Vladislav Heric as his technical director following yet more shuffling of the coaching department from the Eastern Cape club. “We can build on this performance against a very good Arrows team. The signs are positive.”

In head-to-head stats, Chippa and Chiefs have met in 15 league matches since 2012/13. The Amakhosi have claimed eight wins compared to five for the Chilli Boys, while two matches have been drawn. The Soweto side has won four of their seven home league matches in the rivalry, suffering two defeats in the process.

When the teams met earlier this season, at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in October 2020, Chiefs claimed a 1-0 away win thanks to an own goal from Chippa’s Gregory Damons. The Amakhosi have put together a three-game winning streak in this rivalry.

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH: KAIZER CHIEFS

Njabulo Blom – The young midfielder put in a tireless performance against Mamelodi Sundowns, capped off by a brilliant pass to set up the match-winning goal. He’ll look for another energetic showing in this midweek clash.

Samir Nurkovic – The striker’s introduction off the bench helped Kaizer Chiefs turn around their clash against Sundowns. Nurkovic provides more mobility and pace than Leonardo Castro and could well get the nod to start on Wednesday afternoon.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: CHIPPA UNITED

Frederic Nsabiyumva – An experienced and gifted defender, Nsabiyumva will be key in both penalty areas for this clash: being tasked with marshalling the backline and also posing a potent aerial threat when Chippa win set pieces in the attacking half of the field.

Augustine Kwem – The Nigerian striker has had to feed off scraps in recent times, with Chippa struggling to find any attacking rhythm. Kwem will be tasked with capitalising on any and all chances the Chilli Boys create at Soccer City.

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