TS Galaxy claimed another victory over Kaizer Chiefs in the Nedbank Cup as they emerged 1-0 winners in the Last 32 round which was played at FNB Stadium on Saturday evening.
Augustine Chidi Kwem’s solitary goal earned the Rockets the win. The Mpumalanga based-side had also secured a 1-0 win over a much-fancied Chiefs in the 2019 Nedbank Cup final while Galaxy were still campaigning in the National First Division at the time.
Amakhosi adopted an attack-minded approach under coach Stuart Baxter, who was making his return to the dugout after recovering from Covid-19. Nkosingiphile Ngcobo was among the six attackers who started as Chiefs looked to mark their return to action with a victory following the recent mid-season break.
Their visitors were fearless as Rockets also adopted an attack-minded approach with Kwem, Lindokuhle Mbatha and Lefa Hlongwane starting upfront as the front three for coach Sead Ramovic’s side, while Given Msimango, Pogiso Sanoka and Ibrahim Seedat were part of the three-man defence.
It was end-to-end stuff from the first whistle with both teams launching attacks with neither side happy to sit back and invite pressure in the opening stages of an all-PSL encounter. Galaxy created the first real chance of the game with Hlongwane’s shot from inside the hosts’ box being blocked by goalkeeper Brandon Petersen.
The Rockets looked more dangerous whenever they launched their attacks and they nearly broke the deadlock following a great move involving Marks Munyai and the lively Mbatha. Munyai’s cross found Mbatha unmarked in the hosts’ box and the former Mamelodi Sundowns star was superbly denied by Petersen.
Chiefs improved towards the half-time break as they were finally able to keep hold of possession in the visitors’ half. However, the likes of Ngcobo, Bernard Parker, Keagan Dolly and Khama Billiat were not afforded the time and space to shoot at goal and the score was 0-0 at the interval following a first-half which saw Galaxy create the better chances.
The two teams continued to attack each other after the restart with Ngcobo registering Amakhosi’s first shot on target and his effort was comfortably saved by keeper Melusi Buthelezi. Almost immediately at the other end, Galaxy took the lead after a mistake by the home side at the back.
Phathutshedzo Nange’s poor back pass which was meant for Petersen was intercepted by Kwem, who then made no mistake as he hit the back of the net to hand Galaxy a well-deserved 1-0 lead six minutes before the hour-mark and it was the Nigerian marksman’s first goal for the Rockets.
Baxter responded by making a double substitution as the two-time Nedbank Cup-winning coach introduced Samir Nurkovic and Leonardo Castro as Amakhosi looked to level matters. The hosts had a few chances in the closing stages with Dolly missing the target from close range before Buthelezi saved Nurkovic’s tame shot.
Ultimately, Galaxy progressed to the Last 16 after running out 1-0 winners over Chiefs, who crashed out of the tournament which they have won a record 13 times. Their long run without winning a major trophy continues – stretching back to 2015.