Minnows Milford knock Kaizer Chiefs out of Nedbank Cup in a seismic upset

Kaizer Chief head coach Cavin Johnson

FILE - Kaizer Chief head coach Cavin Johnson. Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP

Published Feb 25, 2024


Minnows Milford FC pulled off a massive shock on Sunday when they dumped Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs out of the Nedbank Cup.

Another cup competition, led to more heartbreak for Kaizer Chiefs, who all but relinquished their last opportunity of ending an eight-year trophyless streak.

Chiefs slipped up to a potential banana skin after losing 5-4 on penalties to second tier Milford FC in the Nedbank Cup last 32 at FNB Stadium on Sunday night.

The NFD side were the second-best team in terms of possession and chances created, but they still held Chiefs to a draw after regulation and extra time.

Milford’s goalie Siphamandla Hlezi was the hero of the night for his daring saves, which included saving Ranga Chivaviro’s penalty in the first half of extra time.

Chiefs will now turn their focus to the DStv Premiership with an aim of finishing in the top three as they are all but out of the title race as well.

With Chiefs boasting 13 crowns in the competition, Milford were only making their debut. This clash was befitting of a “David and Goliath” tag.

But that battle didn’t come to life in the first half as Milford were happy to sit back and absorb the pressure, forcing Chiefs to circle their box without penetration.

The goalless first half gave Milford a chance to cause an upset in the second, but it must have frustrated Chiefs and interim head coach Cavin Johnson.

Johnson didn’t take the NFD side lightly as he fielded a relatively strong team, albeit making five changes to the team that drew with Royal AM in the league.

The notable omission from the starting line-up was Yusuf Maart who had started all 21 matches across all competitions this season before this match.

Chiefs didn’t seem like a team that would miss their kingpin in the opening stages as Cristian Saile and Mduduzi Shabalala were active on the flanks.

Saile nearly provided the first assist of the match after teeing up Ashley Du Preez who hit the crossbar with a thunderbolt when it looked easier to score.

But that was Chiefs’ first and only real threat at goal as Milford decided to camp in their own half, forcing Amakhosi to take the game to them.

Milford’s game-plan exposed the absence of someone like Maart, who can take shots from distance when pockets of spaces are impenetrable.

The second half nearly got off to a perfect start for Chiefs as Du Preez unleashed a grass-cutter from close-range, only for Siphamandla Hleza to parry away the effort.

Amid the missed or saved efforts, Chiefs fans that filled the lower stands behind the benches made the presence felt, giving Mfundo Vilakazi a standing ovation.

The 19-year-old was making his senior debut, having been promoted to the senior team in January following some stellar performances for the reserve team.

Vilakazi had two shots saved by Hleza, but the Milford goalkeeper duly earned his stripes after saving what had been a worldie from Edmilson Dove.

Dove had moved up front to show the strikers how it’s done as he skinned his marker before turning to unleash a bullet that Hleza brilliantly tipped over the crossbar.

Hleza again proved to be the hero for the KZN-based outfit, saving Chivaviro’s penalty in the first half of extra time after his teammate had conceded a handball inside the box.

The match was eventually decided on the lottery of penalty shootout where Hleza continued to reign supreme, scoring his team’s decisive spot kick.


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