By Michael Madyira
Kaizer Chiefs rode their luck to squeeze through to the Nedbank Cup last-eight following a slim 2-1 win over Casric Stars at FNB Stadium on Sunday.
Bonfils-Caleb Bimenyimana struck from the penalty spot after 11 minutes for his first goal of 2023 and a maiden in this tournament, before Kgomotso Mosadi levelled for the visitors in the 62nd minute.
Amakhosi quickly reacted a minute later through substitute Ashley du Preez to hand his side another unconvincing win.
It was a third straight narrow victory for the Soweto giants who have been grinding results.
Important for Chiefs, they remain on course to claim a first piece of silverware since 2015.
With Christian Saile Basomboli suspended, Chiefs coach Arthur Zwane started Bimenyimana as a lone striker.
Kamohelo Mahlatsi was back to start for Chiefs although he struggled in the 51 minutes on the pitch.
Zwane’s opposite number Bucs Mthombeni selected in his line-up Chiefs loanee Sibusiso Milazi while another Amakhosi player Kelets Sifama started from the bench.
It did not take long for Chiefs to go ahead when Casric Stars and Ghanaian defender Mumuni Abubakar handled inside the box.
Upsetepped Bimenyimana to beat Ludwe Mpakumpaku in goals for the National First Division outfit.
A minute later, Casric defender Khotso Malope almost gifted his former club Chiefs with an own goal but had the upright post to thank after he miscued a clearance with his head.
On 24 minutes, Dolly could not direct his shot on target while well-positioned for a good shot.
It was a drab first half with less promising scoring chances.
A defensive mistake by Zitha Kwinika then gifted Casric their equaliser through Mosadi whose initial attempt was parried by Brandon Petersen before he pounced on the rebound into the top corner.
But Chiefs immediately responded via Du Preez who connected, first time, a Dolly cross from the left.
That goal injected more energy into Du Preez who had a cross cleared with a well-positioned Dolly waiting to finish.
Mduduzi Shabalala then almost put Chiefs further ahead but was denied by Mpakumpaku in a one-on-one situation in what was a clear-cut scoring opportunity.
Chiefs will now be hoping to avoid Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns in the quarter-finals.
Pictured above: Man-of-the-Match Mduduzi Shabalala take on Casric Stars players
Image source: Kaizer Chiefs