Kaizer Chiefs advanced to the Nedbank Cup final after overcoming Chippa United in a thrilling encounter in Port Elizabeth on Saturday evening.
Amakhosi coach Ernst Middendrop opted for four changes from their last outing against Black Leopards, as goalkeeper Bruce Bvuma replaced Daniel Akpeyi, who is cup tied, while Kgotso Moleko, Teenage Hadebe and George Maluleka returned to the fold.
However, Chiefs had an injury setback after just 14 minutes as Kabelo Mahlasela went down with a foot injury and was forced off. He was replaced by Dumisani Zuma.
Middendorp’s charges were finding pockets of space in the last third and finally broke the deadlock eight minutes before the break courtesy of Zuma who scored into a gaping net at close range after Chippa goalkeeper Mbongeni Mzimela made a hash of Khama Billiat’s through ball.
United threatened to come back in the game in the closing stages but Chiefs goalkeeper Bvuma was solid at the back, while the hosts were let down by their final ball at times.
After a quiet start to the half, Billiat had a glorious opportunity to double the lead for Chiefs in the 63rd minute after going through on goal and although he beat the on-rushing Mzimela to the ball his shot sailed agonisingly wide.
The visitors were made to rue that miss as Chippa found parity a minute later through Andile Mbenyane with a fine header towards the top corner following a cross from Makobela.
Lerato Manzini gave the Chilli Boys a 2-1 lead with 20 minutes remaining after poking Thabo Rakhale’s teasing cross at close past Bvuma following a quick attack.
Andriamirado Andrianarimanana got Amakhosi back in the game with 15 minutes remaining with a low strike at the near post after being teed up by Zuma from the right wing.
With six minutes to play, Bernard Parker restored the lead for Middendorp’s troops time with a neat strike at the near post following a brilliant cross from Billiat.
Billiat then sealed the win three minutes before time with a sensational strike from outside the box as Amakhosi advance to the final where they will face TS Galaxy.
Chippa: Mzimela, Macheke, Nsabiyumva, Shitolo, Tlolane, Malepe, Lentjies, Rakhale, Malama, Mbenyane, L.Manzini.
Subs: Mothwa, Komane, Makobela, R.Manzini, Twala, Gamildien, Mayambela.
Chiefs: Bvuma, Moleko, Hadebe, Cardoso, Mphahlele, Katsande, Maluleka, Adrianarimanana, Mahlasela, Parker, Billiat.
Subs: Petersen, Booysen, Ntiya-Ntiya, Frosler, Moon, Zuma, Castro.