Kaizer Chiefs 3-0 Elgeco Plus: Amakhosi give themselves the upper hand heading to Madagascar
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Ernst Middendorp kept up his 100% win ratio as he guided Amakhosi to a comfortable win over the lesser known Madagascans

A brace by Leonardo Castro and a first half strike by Philani Zulu gave Kaizer Chiefs the early advantage in their Caf Confederation Cup tie against Elgeco Plus.

Chiefs were hoping to keep their hopes of progression alive as they hosted Elgeco Plus on Saturday night in Durban.

Amakhosi were also keen to build on their recent win in the league against SuperSport United which coincided with Ernst Middendorp’s return to the helm, and the coach refrained from tinkering too much with his side.

However, enforced changes due to the absence of Kgotso Moleko, who was not registered for the tournament saw Daniel Cardoso move into a full-back role. Virgil Vries also continued to be the man between the goal posts as Itumeleng Khune was still out with an injury.

Chiefs were certainly motivated for the clash in Durban, and ‘Dax’ appeared to have a point to prove against his fellow countrymen as he came out of the blocks firing and looked dangerous.

Meanwhile, Chiefs’ top scorer in the tournament with three goals, Khama Billiat had his side’s first chance on goal.

 The Zimbabwean was played through on goal, but his effort with the outside of the boot was comfortably saved by the Madagascan keeper.

The link up play between Billiat, Dax, Manyama and Leonardo Castro caused Elgeco all sorts of headaches and the latter should have done better as he attempted to round the keeper, only for him to be thwarted.

At the other end, Elgeco showed that they could fashion chances of their very own, and Vries needed to be sharp as he kept out Ranaivoson’s shot after he benefited from some sloppy defending by the Chiefs defence.  

But the Soweto giants eventually broke the deadlock through Zulu just after the half-hour mark. Billiat turned provider as he played the winger on goal, who made no mistake from close range with a powerful effort.  

It was Chief’s sixth goal in three games in the competition and made Middendorp’s team talk a whole lot calmer as they headed into the break a goal ahead.

With Chiefs a goal to the good, in order to freshen things up Middendorp opted to remove Godfrey Walusimbi for Siphelele Ntshangase. The change meant that Chiefs had an additional attacking outlet, but it showed little signs of being a threat as the visitors were resolute.

Billiat, who was a consistent danger on the night, again found himself with an opportunity inside the Elgeco box, but the Madagascan keeper stood tall as he got his body behind Billiat’s powerful drive, before collecting at the second attempt.

The hour mark was quickly approaching and while Chiefs were dominating possession, they were not as comfortable as they would have liked. Middendorp then turned to experience, as Bernard Parker was thrown into the fray.

In Chiefs’ domestic league campaign, they had only found the net 17.6% between minutes 60 to 75. This statistic showed itself in the fact that Chiefs appeared to take the foot of the gas, allowing Elgeco to slowly come more into the game.

Castro though did have a rare chance to double Chiefs’ advantage with just about 20 minutes to go. The Colombian found himself again in a one on one situation with just the keeper to beat, but he was guilty of squandering the opportunity.

The chance saw an injection of excitement into what had turned into a rather frustrating half of football, and Zulu then joined in on the plethora of missed opportunities as his effort fell safely into the arms of the Elgeco keeper.

Nonetheless, with five minutes remaining, Chiefs finally broke down the gutsy Madagascan side as Billiat fed in Castro, who made no mistake this time around. But the damage was not done just yet as Castro then completed his brace as he put away a penalty late on to give Chiefs not only the first leg advantage, but Middendorp his second win on the trot since taking over.

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