Nine-man Kaizer Chiefs kept their CAF Champions League hopes alive, as Bernard Parker headed them to a 1-0 victory over Wydad Casablanca at the FNB Stadium on Saturday evening.
The victory lifts Chiefs to 8 points, however Horoya remain second, also on 8 points after they beat Petro De Luanda 1-0 at the same time.
Chiefs will need to win, or get a scoring draw, next week against Horoya away in Guinea in their final game to qualify. With the head-to-head rule in play, if Chiefs were to draw in the game with goals scored, they would progress through their away goals, after the game in South Africa ended goalless.
Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 Wydad Casablanca
Lebogang Manyama went close in the ninth minute, but his attempt from long range went just wide.
Chiefs began to take control of the possession, as they looked for a way through the Wydad defence.
Bernard Parker went just wide in the 18th minute, as Wydad were forcing Chiefs’ into long range efforts.
Chiefs were dealt a huge blow when Daniel Akpeyi was sent off in the 42nd minute for handling the ball outside his area. Akpeyi was outside the box when collecting a ball, and while he was back-peddling, he took the ball outside, before moving back into his area.
Itumeleng Khune had to replace Manyama as Chiefs were reduced to ten men.
Despite being down to ten, it was Chiefs who grabbed the lead in the 48th minute, when Parker, the captain on the day, did brilliantly to head past Yanis Henin.
It wasn’t a pretty game of football, with the aggressive Moroccans, often resorting to fouls and play acting. While the officiating wasn’t awful, at times the referee turned a blind eye to what looked a few dangerous tackles.
Khune had to make himself big to deny a chance for the visitors in the 68th minute, and he was able to deflect the attempt from close range away.
Two minutes later, he was back at again, this time Khune pulled off a great save, as Badr Gaddarine attempted a long range effort.
A confident-looking Parker tried a long range effort in the 79th minute, but it flew just over the goal.
But for the most part it was Wydad pushing forward, as they looked for a late goal. But the Moroccans weren’t very good with their final third delivery, and despite numerous forays into the box, Khune’s goal wasn’t threatened.
Chiefs were reduced to nine men in the 89th minute when Samir Nurkovic was shown a second yellow card for an alleged elbow to the face.