Result: Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 Maritzburg United
Date: 18 October 2020
Venue: FNB Stadium
The Gavin Hunt era at Kaizer Chiefs got off to a winning start following a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Maritzburg United in the MTN8.
A number of last season's first-team regulars were absent from the Chiefs' starting lineup. Willard Katsanda and Lebogang Manyama missed out through suspension, while Samir Nurkovic was absent through injury.
It was a cagey opening to the game with no good opportunities created in the opening half an hour but Maritzburg were making more of the play. Shortly after the half-hour mark, Bernard Parker's volleyed cross was headed narrowly wide by Khama Billiat.
Soon after, Kearyn Baccus gave the ball away sloppily in midfield to Keagan Buchanan, whose through-ball released Thabiso Kutumela, with the striker making no mistake as he placed the ball calmly past Khune and into the bottom left corner of the net.
The hosts almost responded immediately with Maritzburg shot-stopper Bongani Mpandle doing well to keep out an effort from Amakhosi left-back Yagan Sasman.
Chiefs were being overrun and survived two scares in quick succession before the half-time break. Judas Moseamedi went on a rampaging run down the right-hand side before squaring the ball in to the box for Hlongwane, with Khune getting there just ahead of the Maritzburg player. And then Hlongwane hit the crossbar after being played in by Claasen.
Hunt brought on Castro for Lazarous Kambole and Njabulo Blom for Teddy Akumu at half-time, before Chiefs nearly claimed an equaliser with just 20 seconds gone in the second-half when Parker's left-footed volley rattled the right-hand upright.
Parker blazed his effort inches over the crossbar five minutes later when the ball fell kindly to him on the edge of the box after neat one-touch passing from the Amakhosi before Blom's deflected shot looped over Mpandle and hit the crossbar before going out of play in the 68th minute.
However, the Amakhosi would be rewarded for their second-half dominance when they turned the tie around in a matter of minutes with two goals in quick succession; both from defender Yagan Sasman. The first was fortuitous as the ball bounced off Sasman's thigh and into the back of the net from Billiat's corner. But for the second, the Cape Town-born defender headed confidently past Mpandle, also from a Billiat corner.
Billiat went in search of a third that surely would have wrapped matters up when he was again set up by Parker but the Zimbabwean forward could not get past Mpandle, who made himself big to snuff out the danger but the damage had already been done.
Here's how they started:
Chiefs: Khune, Frosler, Cardoso, Mphahlele, Sasman, Baccus, Agay, Ngcobo, Billiat, Kambole, Parker.
Subs: Bvuma, Castro, Moleko, Zulu, Ngezana, Mashiane, Blom, Sifama, Lesako.
Maritzburg: Mpandle, Sanoka, Allie, Kutumela, De Reuck, Bongo Mbourou, Buchanan, Claasen, Morgan, Hlongwane, Moseamedi.
Subs: Barr, Ismail, Hlubi, Shanud, Modise, Bhengu
See the list of some of the targets Chiefs have missed out on because of the FIFA ban!