Kaizer Chiefs twice came from behind to hold Horoya AC 2-2 in a CAF Champions League Group C clash at the General Lansana Stadium in Conakry on Saturday night, with the result seeing the South African side progress to the quarterfinals for the first time.
The Amakhosi needed a win or a score draw to edge ahead of HAC on the standings and join Wydad Casablanca in the final eight, and they just about pulled out the result, with goals from Daniel Cardoso and Khama Billiat cancelling out strikes from Yakhouba Barry and Sekou Camara.
Chiefs were the first to threaten a goal, with young midfielder Nkosingiphile Ngcobo seeing a snap shot travel just wide in the 12th minute, but it was soon the turn of Horoya to narrowly miss out on the opening goal when Yakhouba Barry headed just over the target.
The home side put together some promising attacks as the half-hour mark approached, with Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune forced into regular contributions as his defence was pushed onto the back foot.
On 31 minutes HAC had another chance to open the scoring when defender Salif Coulibaly got on the end of a cross from Seyei Baffour, but his header flashed wide of the mark, while the 43rd minute saw Khune make a sharp save to turn away an effort from Boniface Haba.
However, the Amakhosi ‘keeper was beaten two minutes into injury time by Barry to see HAC 1-0 up at the interval. The striker netted with a powerful header from Baffour’s cross, after the visitors failed to clear their lines from a corner kick.
Chiefs opted for an attacking switch at the start of the second half, sending on striker Lazarous Kambole for midfielder Happy Mashiane, but it was Horoya who continued to provide a threat when Ocansey Mandela shot over the crossbar on 47 minutes.
Midway through the second half Chiefs drew level, with Daniel Cardoso scoring from the spot to make it 1-1. The penalty was awarded for a hand-ball from a Horoya defender, with the Amakhosi having begun dialling up the attacking pressure in the previous minutes.
Yet parity was very short lived, with HAC reclaiming the ascendancy just two minutes later. Defender Sekou Camara netted with a header after more poor defending at a set piece from the visiting team.
However, the drama was far from over, as the South African side levelled for a second time with a goal in the 76th minute. Zimbabwean Khama Billiat latched onto Dumisani Zuma’s assist and sent an effort beyond Horoya goalkeeper Robert Ondogkara for 2-2.
Horoya laid siege to Chiefs’ goal in the dying minutes and the visiting team had several heart-in-mouth moments, including a great save from Khune in injury time, but ultimately the Amakhosi were able to hang tough and secure an unlikely place in the final eight of the continental competition.
Horoya AC (1) 2 (Barry 45+2’, S. Camara 69’)
Kaizer Chiefs (0) 2 (Cardoso 67’ pen, Billiat 76’)