Kaizer Chiefs lost 1-0 to Côte d’Ivoire’s Asec Mimosas in the first leg of the CAF Champions League first round at the FNB Stadium on Saturday evening.
Amakhosi were clearly the better side, but they couldn’t convert the chances. Asec scored the winner in the 57th minute thanks to a Adama Baka Yoko header.
Lorenzo Gordinho and George Maluleka returned to the starting line-up, replacing respectively Morgen Gould and William Twala.
Amakhosi were in an offensive mood from the moment the referee blew the whistle to start the encounter. The team also put good early pressure on the Ivoirians whenever they got possession of the ball.
Dominating the game, however, didn’t immediately result in too many real goal scoring chances. Maluleka and Cameldine Abraw got closest, but they both failed to finish from close range.
Asec are a side that is struggling in the Ivoirian league this season, only being in tenth position. As a result of their poor start to the season, the club sacked the coach recently. He was replaced by Siaka Traore for who this was the second match in charge.
The second half started like the first with Chiefs having by far the majority of the ball possession.
However, completely against the run of play Asec scored when a well-taken set-piece was headed in by Adama Baka Yoko in the 57th minute. It was a shocker, especially as this was probably the first time the Ivoirians really got close to Itumeleng Khune’s goal.
That was when coach Komphela decided to ring the changes, bringing on Hendrick Ekstein for Tsepo Maluleka barely a minute after the visitors had scored.
Bernard Parker came close to the equaliser, but his shot just flew past the wrong side of the sidebar.
Amakhosi continued to dominate. In the 69th minute, right-back Kgotso Moleko released a thunderous shot a goal, only to be blocked from going in thanks to an excellent save of Asec’s goalkeeper Koffi Kouakou.
Chiefs were really piling up the pressure, but the Ivoirian ‘keeper was in a brilliant form, continuing to make crucial stops. The Asec players also had the habit of wasting time by being continuously falling to the ground, claiming an injury. In the end, it wasn’t Chiefs’ day.
However, the present Asec side is clearly not as strong as their famous teams from the nineties and, as a result, Amakhosi definitely have a chance to reverse the score in Abidjan next week and still qualify for the next round of the Champions League.