DStv Premiership newcomers Royal AM sent shockwaves through the league on Saturday evening when they recorded a 4-1 victory over hosts Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium.
Featuring two well-taken goals from in-form striker Victor Letsoalo, Thwihli Thwahla were worthy victors and claimed a second successive win after their maiden three-pointer over Chippa United last weekend.
The result pushes them into fourth place on the standings.
As for the Amakhosi, this is a second straight loss and sees them drop to 12th place on the log.
Royal were inches away from claiming the lead as early as the third minute, as Victor Letsoalo chested down Given Mashikinya’s lofted pass from midfield before turning and unleashing a low shot which struck the base of goalkeeper Brandon Petersen’s right-hand post.
Chiefs then enjoyed a couple of great chances of their own inside the opening 20 minutes, as Khama Billiat sent a low shot across the face of goal after good work from Sifiso Hlanti, before the Zimbabwean teed up Cole Alexander for a run into the box, but the midfielder put his chip over the advancing goalkeeper just wide of the target.
Thwihli Thwahla seemed to have gone quiet in attack, but they claimed the lead out of nowhere in the 34th minute.
Levy Mashiane provided a teasing cross from the right which Chiefs’ defence failed to cut out and Letsoalo bravely scored with a diving header to put the visitors 1-0 up.
Royal almost claimed a second goal on 42 minutes, with Mashiane teeing up Tebogo Potsane for a shot from the edge of the box, but Petersen tipped the effort over the crossbar for a corner kick.
Chiefs pushed hard for an equaliser before the interval, but a brave save from Huge Nyame to deny Samir Nurkovic ensured Royal retained their 1-0 lead heading into the change rooms.
Nyame was in action again inside the opening 60 seconds after the restart, keeping out Keagen Dolly’s low shot after great set-up play from Billiat, but Chiefs otherwise struggled to create scoring chances.
The hosts went on the offence after the hour mark, withdrawing defender Eric Mathoho and sending on forward Lebogang Manyama, but it was Royal who struck next, with Letsoalo scoring a second with a beautifully executed free kick.
The 66th-minute set piece saw Letsoalo fire a shot straight at three teammates standing in front of the defensive wall – the trio timed their duck perfectly and the ball flew through a gaping hole in the wall before finding the bottom corner, with Petersen given no chance of a save.
The Amakhosi were given a lifeline in the 74th minute when Hlanti scored with a shot direct from a free kick – his effort took a wicked deflection off the defensive wall to wrong-foot Nyame.
Yet just a minute later Thwihli Thwahla restored a two-goal lead: overlapping wingback Zukile Mkhize provided a low cross from the right which was deflected into his own net by unfortunate substitute Sibusiso Mabaliso to make it 3-1.
Chiefs looked for another glimmer of hope in what remained of the game, but Royal were able to hold out and add to their advantage deep in extra time when Mfundo Thikazi provided a fine finish on a counter attack to wrap up the most famous win in Royal’s club history.
The teams will be back in DStv Premiership action next Sunday, 26 September, with Royal at home to TS Galaxy and Chiefs visiting Marumo Gallants.
Kaizer Chiefs (0) 1 (Hlanti 74’)
Royal AM (1) 4 (Letsoalo 34’ 66’, Mabaliso og 75’, Thikazi 90+5’)
Kaizer Chiefs:Petersen, Cardoso, Mathoho (Manyama 62’), Nj. Ngcobo, Blom, Alexander, Nange (Akumu 43’), Hlanti (Nk. Ngcobo 74’), Dolly (Sekgota 74’), Billiat, Nurkovic (Mabaliso 75’)
Royal AM:Nyame, Lingwati, Rikhotso, Manganyi, Mkhize (Mabuza 89’), Mahlasela (Masuku 88’), Mashikinya, Monamodi, Mashiane (Phalane 62’), Potsane (Thikazi 69’), Letsoalo
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