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Blistering Manyama hat trick sees Kaizer Chiefs right back in top 8 contention

02 June 2021 - 19:17 By Marc Strydom
Lebogang Manyama banged in a hat-trick to fire Kaizer Chiefs to victory.
Lebogang Manyama banged in a hat-trick to fire Kaizer Chiefs to victory.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Lebogang Manyama smacked a stunning hat-trick as Kaizer Chiefs displayed fight that had been sorely lacking in the 2020-21 DStv Premiership edging Lamontville Golden Arrows 3-2 to bring themselves right back into the top-eight equation.

Michael Gumede’s 21st-minute strike put Arrows ahead in Wednesday’s thriller at FNB Stadium, Manyama equalising in the 31st.

After Erick Mathoho’s own goal in the 62nd, Manyama again equalised in the 72nd, then struck the winner in the 79th.

The result, and combination of others in the penultimate round, meant Chiefs (33 points and a -4 goal difference) jumped from 11th to ninth, and can end eighth if they beat current eighth-placed side TS Galaxy (36 points and also -4) at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.

In the wake of head coach Gavin Hunt’s sacking on Friday, Chiefs were far from perfect under caretakers Arthur Zwane and Dillon Sheppard, patchily conceding two soft goals.

But a side desperate to avoid matching or ending lower than their worst position of ninth finally showed the fight necessary – and which has been so obviously lacking – to match that dire situation. They also scored three goals that could justifiably be called beautiful.

AmaZulu clinched second place with a 1-0 win against Swallows FC at King’s Park – Benni McCarthy’s men completing the club’s best finish by far in the PSL era, their previous-highest being seventh.

Arrows slipped to fourth, and will battle it out on the last day on Saturday with Orlando Pirates, who drew 1-1 with Baroka FC at Peter Mokaba Stadium, for third place.

Chiefs looked shaky at the back at the start under their new coaches, and conceded. Amakhosi rallied so convincingly they were unfortunate to only score an equaliser, and then Arrows completed an end-to-end half strongly.

Arrows’ opener found Chiefs’ fullbacks out of position to leave their centrebacks facing a three-on-two, Ntsakho Makhubela finding Velemseni Ndwandwe on the right, who fed Gumede inside. The big striker eluded the challenge of Baccus, and beat Bvuma but found the body of Erick Mathoho, heading the rebound at goal again, where Mathoho was on the line but could not stop the ball crossing it.

Chiefs responded, not for the first time in the match after conceding, piling on pressure. Arrows battled to clear their lines, a clearance finding Willard Katsande in midfield to burst past two defenders and square, Manyama sweeping in the equaliser.

Just before the hour Mathoho’s mis-kick at a corner flirted with being an own goal. Minutes later the big centreback succeeded in that endeavour. Knox Mutizwa’s free-kick from left midfield was played to the danger area and Mathoho, off balance, directed a header that beat a diving Bvuma.

Chiefs’, and Manyama’s, second equaliser was beautifully-worked. Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, on for Baccus moments earlier, left defenders in his wake advancing from just in front of the halfway line, feeding Manyama in front of him who turned and chipped Mlungwana.

Amakhosi scored their dramatic winner from another stunning build-up, and third excellent Manyama finish. Philani Zulu chipped to Nurkovic from the left, deep in his half, who chested to Castro, who beat a player and squared through a needle to Ngcobo, who touched to Manyama in acres of space to pick his spot.