Kaizer Chiefs were dominant against a physical Horoya AC content to play a frustrating game, the home team unable to profit from their chances and having to settle for Tuesday evening’s 0-0 draw opening their Caf Champions League Group C campaign.
Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt had out a retro 4-4-2 formation at FNB Stadium. A diamond four in the middle of Kearyn Baccus on the right, Willard Katsande in defensive midfield, Bernard Parker on the left and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo in attacking midfield served twin strikers Leonardo Castro and Samir Nurković.
Chiefs edged the first half. They lifted their tempo and camped in Guinean outfit Horoya’s half in the second, the West Africans abandoning even the counterattack after the break.
In this period Horoya had to concede a number of set pieces, from which Amakhosi’s big strikers threatened.
Far side assistant referee Mogomotsi Morakile ruled a number of seemingly marginal offside decisions against the home team, including over-ruling two Nurkovic finishes. To be fair to the match official from Botswana, he seemed to get the majority right, though crucially a Nurkovic header minutes back from the break that beat goalkeeper Moussa Camara seemed incorrectly ruled offside.
Chiefs would have felt they had done enough to secure the three points. Horoya would also have felt they had played a frustrating game effectively enough, while also riding their luck, to deserve a point.
Amakhosi edged the exchanges in the first half, but also found Horoya physically imposing and tough to get through.
Left-back Reeve Frosler’s cross from deep found Nurkovic free at the far post, the Serb unable to get over the header.
Horoya looked capable of catching Chiefs on the counter and had arguably the best chance of the half when, from a punt upfield, striker Yakhouba Barry got up for the flick-on that found Enoch Agyei to beat offside on the right. With Itumeleng Khune well off his line the winger attempted a lob that landed just past the left upright.
Four minutes into the second half Chiefs appeared to have pried their breakthrough. A cross from Frosler again found Nurkovic free to this time nod past Camara. Assistant-referee Morakile strangely ruled offside.
Frosler’s deliveries, showing himself as adept at a cross with his left as his favoured right, and Chiefs’ big front pair caused Horoya problems all evening, as next it was Castro who headed a few centimetres wide.
But it was not just those three in the game, Ngcobo’s free kick from the left channel floated to the right upright where Ngezana headed at Camara, again Morakile raising his flag.
Substitute Njabulo Blom struck hard in the 86th, Camara equal to the stop.
Khune was at full stretch to deny a smash and grab and the strike of Mohamed Wonkoye in injury time. Substitute Lebogang Manyama’s free kick earned a similar stop from Camara.