Kaizer Chiefs will head into their second-leg MTN8 semifinal clash against SuperSport United as slight favourites following a 2-2 draw at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Sunday afternoon in the first-leg.
Bradley Grobler bagged a brace for the hosts who held a 2-1 lead at the break. Khama Billiat and Leonardo Castro found the back of the net for the visitors who host the same opponents in Soweto next Saturday.
Having successfully navigated through a sustained spell of pressure from the hosts, Chiefs flexed their muscles against the run of play to open the scoring in the 19th minute.
Billiat started and finished a flowing move following a neat one-two with Dumisani Zuma down the left flank. The Zimbabwe international with the easiest of finishes following a pin-point cross.
The former Mamelodi Sundowns attacker prodding home from close range on the ground where he achieved so much success with the Brazilians.
SuperSport went close through Grobler three minutes later as the forward forced Itumeleng Khune into two good saves in quick succession.
Having fired two warning shots at the Chiefs skipper’s goal, Grobler made the Amakhosi pay for some lackluster defending in the 24th minute as he struck home the equalizer.
The forward did well to control a cross from Fagrie Lakay before finding the back of the net via the inside of the post with a tidy finish.
Matsatsantsa, who now firmly had their tails up, were unlucky not to hit the front in the 28th minute as Dean Furman’s howitzer of a shot cannoned of the woodwork and out of danger.
SuperSport were well and truly dominating proceedings as the game neared the break and deservedly hit the front seven minutes before the interval. Grobler with another poachers finish after Chiefs failed to defend a long throw into the area.
Chiefs emerged from the tunnel raring to right the wrongs from the first half and hit back within the opening minute. Billiat and Castro linking up well in the final third as the latter latched onto a through ball with aplomb: lobbing the onrushing Williams to make it 2-2.
The Glamour Boys continued to boss proceedings in a complete shift in moment, but SuperSport still had their chances against a fragile Chiefs backline as Grobler guided his header attempt in the 69th minute narrowly wide.
Khune then pulled off a stunning save in the 77th minute to deny the forward his hat-trick. The gloves man alert at his near post to palm Grobler’s stinging effort away from danger.
Chances were few and far between in the closing stages as both teams started to showcase signs of fatigue. The enthralling clash ultimately ended all square.
SuperSport United (2) 2 (Grobler 24′ 38′)
Kaizer Chiefs (1) 2 (Billiat 19′ Castro 46′)
United: Williams; Ntshangase, Daniels, Khumalo, Modiba, Furman, Letsholonyane (Keene 60′), Lakay (Phala 70′), Lungu, Rusike (Mnyamane 82′), Grobler.
Chiefs: Khune; Mphahlele, Ngezana, Cardoso, Ntiya-Ntiya, Katsande, Ntshangase, Jayiya (Parker 70′), Billiat, Zuma (Zulu 82′), Castro (Moon 90′).