Absa Premeirship: Chiefs shoot the Birds and go ten points clear
Kaizer Chiefs went 10 points clear at the summit of the log after beating rivals Moroka Swallows 2-0 in the Absa Premiership match at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto on Friday night.
Goals each half by Zimbabwean pair Kingston Nkhatha and Knowledge Musona takes Kaizer Chiefs to 36 points after 16 matches and 10 point clear of the second-placed Supersport United. Moroka Swallows remain 6th on the log with 22 points after 15 matches.
Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter rested striker Bernard Parker and applied five midfielders with Kingston Nkhatha playing as a lone striker up front. The Dube Birds were happy to see their long serving goalkeeper Greg Etafia make it to the team after being away to his home country Nigeria due to family matters.
“I think my players did a fantastic job tonight. There is a time when we took our foot off the pedal in the first half, but in the second we became dangerous again and sealed the victory,” said Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter after the match.
Kaizer Chiefs started to best way and it wasn’t surprising when they took the lead in the 4th minutes. Kingston Nkhatha beat the offside trap to connect with Siphiwe Tshabalala’s through ball before firing low past onrushing Graig Etafia and into the net, 0-1.
The visitors almost scored the second just two minutes later but Siphiwe Tshabalala couldt only shot wide after showing a great composure by controlling the ball after Chiefs caught the home side on the counter. Then Nkhatha failed to get to the end of George Lebese’ cross in the 10th minutes as the visitors pilled more pressure before slowing their pace in the remainder of the half.
The home side started the second stanza the better of the two sides, and they almost equalised four minutes from the restart when winger Dikgang Mabalane’s delivery from the right was met by Lerato Chabangu who headed on target but Itumeleng Khune produced a great save to keep his side ahead.
But it was Kaizer Chiefs who killed and buried the tie in the 70th minutes when Knowledge Musona launched into a long through ball from Reneilwe Letsholonyane and the Zimbabwean was tripped by Ashraf Hendricks on the process before getting up and lobbing the ball over onrushing Greg Etafia and into the net, 0-2.
Things almost got from bad to worse for the trailing side when Larry Cohen clipped second-half substitute Siyabonga Nkosi from behind just outside the area and denied the midfielder a clear scoring opportunity, but the referee Daniel Bennett only showed a yellow card to the lucky defender in the 74th minutes.
The resulting free-kick saw Knowledge Musona’ low shot kept out by Greg Etafia with a fine diving save before Willard Katsande shot just whisker wide from the rebound as Glamour Boys continue their fun run and they have now won eight matches in a row.
“We have to blame ourselves for tonight’ loss as we gave away possession easily in the middle of the park. I kept on telling my players not to give the ball away in the middle of the park because this is Kaizer Chiefs, and obviously they will punish you if you do a silly mistake like that,” Moroka Swallows coach Zeca Marques said after the match.
Moroka Swallows: Etafia, Mungomeni, Cohen, Isaacs, Mokgothu, Mbekile, Nergadze (Bereng 57’), Mabalane, Chabangu ©, Nomvete, Manqele (Ogle 69).
Kaizer Chiefs: Khune ©, Gaxa, Mathoho, Mshamaite, Masilela (Gould 68’), Musona, Katsande, Letsholonyane, Lebese, Tshabalala, Nkhatha (Nkosi 63’)