Johannesburg (AFP) – Serb Samir Nurkovic scored twice as Kaizer Chiefs cruised to a 4-0 victory over lowly Stellenbosch in Cape Town on Wednesday and regained a 10-point South African Premiership lead.
The 27-year-old forward scored the first and third goals for the success-starved Soweto club, who have not lifted a trophy since winning the 2014/2015 league title.
Nurkovic was unknown in South Africa when he joined Chiefs for the start of the season after playing for numerous Slovak clubs.
But as the season approaches the halfway mark, the 27-year-old has scored five Premiership goals and become a favourite at one of the best supported clubs in the republic.
Teamwork, fighting spirit and “the best football supporters in the world” are the reasons why Chiefs have won 10 and drawn one of 12 league matches this season, according to Nurkovic.
“The squad is one big happy family who support each other on and off the field. I love the atmosphere at Chiefs,” he said after the rout of Stellenbosch at Cape Town Stadium.
“We work for each other and showed a lot of character tonight after our shock League Cup semi-final loss (to Maritzburg United) three days ago.
– ‘Best club’ –
“This is the best club I have played for and happy players perform well. I have now scored five league goals this season and hope to get many more.”
Chiefs’ victory lifted them to 31 points, 10 ahead of defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns, with SuperSport United and Golden Arrows sharing third place on 20.
Chiefs exposed poor defending by Stellenbosch at corners to score twice within 23 minutes through headers from Siyabonga Ngezana and Nurkovic.
The Serb struck again on 76 minutes, nodding into the net after a Dumisani Zuma shot rebounded off Dutch goalkeeper Boy de Jong.
Substitute Zuma completed the thrashing deep in stoppage time by tapping in a cutback against a Stellenbosch outfit that had been expected to offer much stiffer resistance.
Sundowns had temporarily narrowed the gap beneath Chiefs to seven points with a laboured 1-0 home win over lowly AmaZulu Tuesday with Venezuelan Jose Ali Meza scoring the only goal.
Maritzburg suffered a League Cup hangover as they fell 2-0 at home against SuperSport, whose scorers were Zimbabwean Kudakwashe Mahachi and Sipho Mbule.
Arrows, beaten by Sundowns in the other League Cup semi-final, had to wait 90 minutes before snatching a 1-0 win at Baroka through Danny Venter.
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