Absa Premiership: Chiefs beat Sundonws and extend their lead at the summit
Kaizer Chiefs extended their lead to eight points at the summit of the log when they defeated Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 in the Absa Premiership top-of-the-table clash at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria on Thursday night.
Kaizer Chiefs came to this match leading by five points over second placed Mamelodi Sundowns, but an own goal from Wayne Arendse was enough to send the defending Absa Premiership table to 33 points from 15 matches, while the Brazilians, who had plenty of chance to equalise throughout the match, will remain second on 25 points from 14 matches.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane was boosted by the fitness of Captain Alje Schut and striker Antony Laffor after the duo passed the late fitness test to start with the match. Stuart Baxter on the other side was happy to see Itumeleng Khune, who was doubtful, started between the sticks and new signing George Maluleka was handed his debut in the place of regular Reneilwe Letsholonyane.
The match started with the flair, and the home side should have opened the scoring as early as three minutes when Katlego Mashego stole the ball on the left hand flank and found Teko Modise just outside the area, and the former Orlando Pirates midfielder unleashed a right footed strike from 25-yards out only to be denied by the underside of the crossbar.
The chance sparked the match early on, and Sundowns continued to pile pressure, and they almost scored again when Khama Billiat collected a ball in the other half of the field, and took on three defenders before firing straight at Itumeleng Khune just five minutes later.
Despite Sundowns dominating the early opening minutes, it was Kaizer Chiefs who found the opening goal in the 10th minutes. The visitors won a free-kick just outside the area, and Barnard Parker’s delivery deflected off the legs of Wayne Arense to wrong foot his own goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene at goals, 0-1.
Sundowns never looked down after the goal, and went searching for the equaliser afterwards, but it was the visitors who were back threatening when they caught the home side on the counter that saw Kingston Nkatha put Bernard Parker thought on goal but striker shot high and wide after 25 minutes.
They did catch Sundowns against a run of play again in the 42nd minutes when fullback Siboniso Gaxa made a run on the right hand side and found Knowledge Musona in the good position but the Zimbabwean’s shot went inches wide of the mark.
The two minutes later on the other side of the field, Sundowns almost levelled the matters when Khama Billiat showed a great skill to get past Tshepo Masilela on the left hand side, before crossing low for Bongani Zungu who saw his attempt go whisker wide of Itumeleng Khune’s right hand post.
The last chance of the half fell to Sundowns again and they were unlucky not to go to the halftime level when Katlego Mashego’s cross from the left hand side found Antony Laffor on the far post unattended but the striker’s diving header was off target as Chiefs went to the break leading 0-1.
The visitors started the better side in the opening stages of the second-half, but Sundowns found their feet soon, and they had a penalty waved away by the referee when Khama Billiat went down under the challenge of Morgan Gould ten minutes after the restart.
Two minutes later the home side won a free-kick outside the area and Khama Billiat’s cross was played back in the good area by Alje Schut who was in the far post, only for Antony Laffor to shoot straight at Itumeleng Khune.
Kaizer Chiefs started to sit-back in numbers and displayed a defensive football. The home coach made two attacking substitutions bringing on Elias Pelembe and Cuthbert Malajila to try and penetrate and hard solid defence by the visiting side.
The next chance that came in the half fell to the trailing side when Elias Pelembe’s corner kick was flicked by Bongani Zungu to Curthbert Malajila who forced a great save from Khune before squandering a rebound by blasting the ball over the bar from close range six minutes from time.
Two minutes later the home side fluffed another chance to get back on level terms when Pelembe’s cross found Alje Schud unmarked in the area, and the big Dutch defender timed the ball well before producing a bicycle kick that Itumeleng Khune was happy to keep out with a low diving save.
Kaizer Chiefs had the last chance of the night in the 90th minute to put the game to bed when Knowledge Musona was put through on goal by his compatriot Kingston Nkatha, but the striker was well denied by a great save from Zambian goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene who conceded a corner as Amakhosi register their 7th win on the trot.
Mamelodi Sundowns: Mweene, Moon, Mashaba, Schut, Arendse, Modise, Kekana (Pelembe 67’), Billiat, Zungu, Laffor (Malajila 75’), Mashego (Moriri 81’).
Kaizer Chiefs: Khune ©, Gaxa (Mashamaite 64’), Gould, Mathoho, Masilela, Katsande, Musona, Lebese (Letsholonyane 86’), Maluleka, Parker (Tshabalala 76’), Nkatha.Abs