Kaizer Chiefs 5-3 Bloemfontein Celtic: Hat-trick hero Nurkovic stars

Amakhosi restored their 10-point lead at the top of the PSL log with a come-from-behind win over Siwelele in Durban

Samir Nurkovic netted a hat-trick while Leonardo Castro scored a brace as Kaizer Chiefs rallied to beat Bloemfontein Celtic 5-3 in a league match which was played at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday night. 

Ndumiso Mabena, Harris Tchilimbou and Siphelele Luthuli all scored for Phunya Sele Sele who went into the interval leading 3-2 in Durban. 

However, a rejuvenated Amakhosi team scored three second-half goals to wrestle the game away from their opponents and claim all three points on the night. 

As expected, Ernst Middendorp started with Daniel Akpeyi in between the sticks while Khama Billiat was rested altogether. 

Coach Lehlohonolo Seema left his leading goalscorer Sera Motebang on the bench with Mabena and Tchilimbou led the attack against the Glamour Boys. 

It took just 13 minutes for Phunya Sele Sele to breach the Amakhosi defence as Mabena fired a beautiful attempt past Akpeyi to make it 1-0 from a Lantshene Phalane pass. 

This was a wake-up call for Chiefs, but even after conceding, they still continued to play their normal, attacking football without pressing the panic button.

They were duly rewarded in the 21st minute when Nurkovic levelled matters, much to the delight of Amakhosi fans out in the stands.

Lebogang Manyama continued his trend of assists as he picked up Nurkovic inside the box and the Serbian marksman made no mistake.  

Chiefs' celebrations were cut short as Tchilimbou restored Celtic's lead three minutes later, exposing a lack of communication between Daniel Cardoso and returnee Erick Mathoho. 

This time, Mabena turned provider for the former Free State Stars attacker and the crowd at Moses Mabhida Stadium went completely silent. 

Nurkovic again proved too hot to handle for Celtic as he restored parity just after the half-hour mark for his seventh league goal of the campaign.

As Chiefs were trying to settle down and digest what was happening, Tebogo Potsane found Luthuli inside the Chiefs box and the former AmaTuks man made no mistake by firing past Akpeyi to make it 3-2 to Celtic. 

The visitors went into the interval with their nose in front and some Chiefs fans in the stands started losing hope but Middendorp had other ideas for the second half. 

This showed as Castro made it 3-3 three minutes after the restart, and it was Manyama who played a pivotal role in ensuring his side got the equaliser. 

Celtic then invited trouble by sitting back, probably trying to get away with at least a point from the match. 

Chiefs took advantage of their defensive changes and punished Celtic through Nurkovic in the 61st minute to make it 4-3. 

Nurkovic has now scored eight league goals and he continues to prove he's an asset to this Amakhosi team this season. 

Seema's men started making too many mistakes and allowed Chiefs to take full control of the game, and 10 minutes later, Manyama turned provider yet again as he found Castro who made it 5-3. 

From then onwards, Chiefs were all over Celtic as they dominated the game and gave them no space to breathe, especially in the middle of the park. 

Ultimately, the game ended 5-3 in favour of Amakhosi who remain 10 points clear at the summit of the log with 34 points from 13 league games.

Chiefs have now won 11 of their opening 13 games - more than any team in the history of the PSL since the teams were reduced from 18 to 16 in the early 2000s.