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Lads stunned by late Chiefs winner

Posted on 16 July 2011  - 12:00

Kaizer Chiefs scored a dramatic late goal to win the first match of the Vodacom Challenge in Polokwane on Saturday.

Kaizer Chiefs scored a dramatic late goal to win the first match of the Vodacom Challenge in Polokwane on Saturday.

George Lebese struck in the second of three minutes added time to send the home crowd into raptures at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Lebese will get the glory but the Chiefs' real hero was goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, who somehow kept out efforts from Peter Crouch and Gareth Bale in the second half.

We looked the more likely winners with Bale in flying form in the second half but Chiefs broke away from our corner and with a man over, substitute Lebese finished from close range.

As expected, Chiefs provided a real test in our first pre-season friendly.

The match started at a high tempo and Khune had to be on his toes to deny Keane in the fourth minute.

Siphiwe Tsahbalala - who famously scored the first goal of last summer's World Cup for South Africa against Mexico - flashed a shot wide 10 minutes later and Niko Kranjcar went even closer at the other end, firing a yard wide with Khune scrambling.

We got into some decent attacking positions but couldn't create that clear-cut chance.

David Bentley's cross from the right was just too far in front of Keane and Defoe and then Assou-Ekotto, released by Jenas, cut the ball back just behind the front two.

However, Chiefs gave as good as they got and carved out the best two chances.

The first arrived on 31 minutes when Carlo Cudicni got down low to parry Josta Dladla's shot, only to see Lehlohonolo Majoro bearing down on the rebound - but the striker placed his side-foot wide.

Five minutes later and Kaizer Mataung Jnr won possession from Alan Hutton and fizzed in a cross to the near post that Majoro met but somehow angled his header over from six yards.

We made seven substitutions at half-time.

Vedran Corluka and Younes Kaboul replaced Hutton and Michael Dawson at the back, Aaron Lennon, Rafa van der Vaart and Bale came on for Bentley, Tom Huddlestone and Kranjcar while PCrouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko took over from Defoe and Keane up front.

Majoro had another chance this time turned around by Cudicini at the near post and van der Vaart was straight into the action from his central role, drilling a 25-yarder at Khune.

Bale's influence on the game grew by the minute and he carved out our best chance when his cross was met by a textbook downward header from Crouch only for Khune to get down and claw out from his goalline.

Van der Vaart curled a free-kick just over and Bale, seemingly caught between a cross and shot, angled his effort just over.

The match was bubbling to quite a finale. Lebese lashed just wide, Bale went even closer from 25 yards and he then looked certain to score in the 90th minute, playing a one-two with van der Vaart and connecting sweetly with a volley that Khune tipped wide.

Then the drama. The corner was cleared, Chiefs broke quickly and suddenly Lebese had the game at his mercy and made no mistake from 12 yards.

Next up it's South African PSL champions Orlando Pirates at the Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit, on Tuesday.

Kaizer Chiefs (4-1-3-2): Khune; Tau, Isaacs (Mashamaite, 64), Sweswe, Jambo; Nengomasha; Letsholonyane (Lebese, 64), Dladla (Yende, 64), Tshabalala (Nale, 64); Mataung (Musona, 64), Majoro (Mateba, 64).

Spurs (4-4-2): Cudicini; Hutton (Corluka, 46), Bassong (Khumalo, 74), Dawson (Kaboul, 46), Assou-Ekotto; Bentley (Lennon, 46), Huddlestone (van der Vaart, 46), Jenas, Kranjcar (Bale, 46); Keane (Pavlyuchenko, 46), Defoe (Crouch, 46). Subs: Friedel, Naughton.