Samir Nurkovic was understandably delighted, after technology came to Kaizer Chiefs’ aid on Saturday, making sure the Serbian’s goal against Wydad Casablanca in the Caf Champions League semifinals was correctly awarded.
Amakhosi put up a superbly resilient display at the Stade Mohammed V stadium, to take a healthy 1-0 advantage back to Johannesburg for the second leg, though they would not have without the help of VAR, instituted just in time for the semifinals.
The assistant referee was way behind the play as Nurkovic latched onto Njabulo Blom’s cross and smashed it into the Wydad net in the 34th minute, but still saw fit to put his offside flag up.
Nurkovic was immediately incensed, even doing the VAR ‘signal’ at the referee, and the officials obliged, with the goal given as Nurkovic was clearly onside when he received Blom’s pass.
“It is important (VAR) because there will be less cheating,” said Nurkovic bluntly after the game.
“If it was not important the biggest leagues in the world would not be using it. I am really happy to have contributed to the victory, it was a good team effort and we have to continue with the same fighting spirit.”
Chiefs had lost 4-0 to Wydad in the group stages, on neutral territory in Ouagadougou, so this was some turnaround, with a defensive organisation shown that was often absent under Gavin Hunt. New head coach Stuart Baxter was only watching from the stands, as he awaits his work permit, so immense credit has to go again to interim head coaches Arthur Zwane and Dillon Sheppard, who also won the last two DStv Premiership games of the season, to qualify for the 2021 MTN8.
Nurkovic, meanwhile, was at pains to stress the job is only half done.
“We still can’t be celebrating, because it is only half time and next week we play them at home and we have to make sure we win that game as well,” added Nurkovic.