Kaizer Chiefs beat Wydad Casablanca 1-0, courtesy of a Bernard Parker goal, in their penultimate Caf Champions League group-stage clash with the Glamour Boys, ending with nine men after some questionable decisions from the match officials.
Gavin Hunt made two changes to his starting lineup from the team which beat Orlando Pirates before the international break. Yagan Sasman got a rare start alongside the returning Lebogang Manyama while Khama Billiat, Leonardo Castro and shotstopper Itumeleng Khune were named on the bench.
Chiefs started on the front foot and had plenty of possession. Bernard Parker went closest to bagging the first goal in the opening stages as his acrobatic strike flew just wide with 17 minutes gone.
Wydad were looking to sit back in a low block and defend deep which was proving effective in cancelling out Chiefs, who went long and lacked the intricate play needed to break down the visitors.
The Morrocans, however, became more adventurous in the closing stages of the half. A foray into the Chiefs half had goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi rushing out of his box handle the ball, leaving the referee with no option but to hand the Nigerian his marching orders.
The returning Manyama was sacrificed for Khune to come on in place of Akpeyi, as the first half ended goalless at the FNB Stadium.
Amakhosi got the second stanza off to a perfect start as Bernard Barker got on the end of a Happy Mashiane ball to end off a counter-attack, heading home inside the box with just three minutes gone.
Wydad then looked to get back into the game and went close through Amine Farhane, but his towering header inside the box flew just over the bar.
The Glamour Boys then looked to shut up shop and protect their lead as they sat deeper and deeper. Their efforts to hold on weren’t helped when Samir Nurkovic was handed his marching orders for a soft foul, which left Chiefs bench incensed.
Hunt’s men, though, managed to hold on for the three points. It takes their tally to eight points as they remain in third place, equal on points with second-placed Horoya, who beat Petro de Luanda by the same scoreline while Wydad’s lead at the top dropped to two points.
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