Daniel Akpeyi’s Kaizer Chiefs staged a late comeback to score three goals in five minutes and defeat Polokwane City 3-2 in Pretoria on Saturday, stretching their South African Premiership lead to six points.
Relegation-threatened Polokwane looked set to remain a bogey side for Chiefs when goals by Lesiba Nku and captain Jabu Maluleke gave them a two-goal advantage on 61 minutes.
But the league leaders staged a stunning recovery and goals from Zimbabwean Willard Katsande, Kenyan Anthony Akumu and Serb Samir Nurkovic earned them three points. Strong-finishing Chiefs squandered a chance to increase their lead in stoppage time when Daniel Cardoso slammed a penalty against the crossbar with goalkeeper Cyril Chibwe beaten.
The thrilling triumph lifted Chiefs to 52 points, six more than defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns, who have played one match less. Man of the match Nurkovic, who joined the Soweto club last year after many seasons with Slovak second division outfits, hailed the mental strength of the team.
— Samir Nurković (@NurkovicFans) August 15, 2020
“I am so happy because this was a very important win and I put our success down to the mental strength of the squad. “There is also fantastic fighting spirit among the players and we never accepted that it was a lost cause when two goals behind.
“We have six more league fixtures and now we turn our attention to Bloemfontein Celtic, who we play Wednesday.”
Nurkovic added that winning the league was all that mattered and he was not concerned about his chances of winning the Premiership Golden Boot award. His winning goal against Polokwane raised his league tally for the season to 13, just one less that leader Frank Mhango, a Malawian who plays for Orlando Pirates.
While Chiefs are favoured to succeed Sundowns as champions, Polokwane slipped to second last after failing to enhance a record of only one loss to Chiefs in seven meetings. Chiefs’ dramatic comeback in Pretoria atoned for dull Premiership fare elsewhere with three other matches producing just one goal and minimal excitement.
— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) August 15, 2020
The lone goal came from Ashley du Preez in Pretoria and enabled Stellenbosch to edge higher-placed Golden Arrows 1-0 and all but ensure their safety. A brilliant Ricardo Goss save from Mhango helped Bidvest Wits force a 0-0 draw in Johannesburg against third-place Pirates, who trail Chiefs by 10 points.
The other goalless stalemate was in Pretoria between strugglers AmaZulu and Baroka, leaving both sides just one point above Polokwane.