It’s the question on everyone’s minds right now. Can Kaizer Chiefs stage a comeback and overturn a 3-0 deficit in the 2020 MTN8 semi-finals? The answer to that question depends on when and who you are asking.
Immediately after the 1st leg, there may have been a probability, given that the two-legged tie was only half-way through. Gavin Hunt’s teamtalk would have gone along the lines of “If they can score three goals in 90 minutes, so can we?”
A week later and with the rivals meeting at FNB Stadium this afternoon (15:00), the chances of Chiefs scoring three goals in 90 minutes are looking slimmer with another blank registered in a league match over TS Galaxy. Yet, if you ask the question to Chiefs fans, some will still believe that enough goals can be found on Sunday afternoon. After all, 3-0 is far from an insurmountable scoreline. Hope.
History favors Pirates
Since the two-legged semi-final format was introduced in 2008, no side has managed to overcome any sort of first-leg deficit to progress to the final, think later a three-goal deficit. Cape Town City are the only side to have trailed by 3+ goals from the first-leg semi-final, and even they only managed a 0-0 draw in the 2nd leg against Wits. That said, eight slides have managed to score 3+ goals in a semi-final 2nd leg since 2008, so the goalscoring aspect is not impossible.
100% – 12 of the 12 sides that won the MTN8 semi-final first-leg have gone on to progress to the final on every single occasion.
The Chiefs goal-scoring problem favors Pirates.
The only goal Chiefs have ‘scored’ in their last four games was the own goal they benefited from against Chippa. Indeed, in the last 20 games in all competitions, Chiefs have scored more than one goal on only two occasions. It is easy to point to Samir Nurkovic’s absence as the main reason for their failure to find the net.
If you take out the 2019/20 Footballer of the Season finalist from any side, they will probably lose an edge. But Chiefs’ goal scoring problems existed even when he was available for selection. His absence robs them of the set-piece prowess they possess and which, (perhaps to their current detriment) they relied on heavily throughout last season.
2019 – Chiefs have not scored more than one non set-piece goal in a game since beating Highlands Park 3-2 on the opening day of last season.
The Pirates defence favors Pirates
If there is one defence you would not want to face when searching for three goals, it is the defence that Josef Zinnbauer has created. The German coach may not be on the sidelines on the weekend as he’s attending to a personal matter in Germany, but the title challenges that his coaching team are building stand on a strong foundation: a steely defence.
1 – Since Josef Zinnbauer took charge in December last year, only one side has managed to score more than one goal in a game against Pirates (Played 23). Wits (3 goals in 120 minutes including one penalty) were the only side to score 2+ against Pirates in that time.
Some hope for Chiefs
Chiefs have scored 3 goals in 90 minutes on 7 separate occasions since the start of last season. Indeed, one of those matches was against Pirates in November last year. It is hard to see where three goals would come from on Sunday, but you can never write off any team before a ball has been kicked. This is why we love football – because anything can happen.
365 – When the sides meet, it will be exactly 365 days since Chiefs scored three goals in a match against Pirates. Superstition.
By Opta Jabu