Chiefs slip up at Maritzburg

2015-03-12 10:59

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Super-sub Khumbulani Banda scored with his first touch as Maritzburg United ended an eight-match winless streak with a 1-0 victory over Premiership leaders Kaizer Chiefs.

The Zimbabwean netted with his first touch when he headed in a Kurt Lentjies corner with nine minutes to play at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg yesterday, handing the Team of Choice their first win since early December.

Amakhosi were largely flat in attack, but did strike the crossbar late on through Siboniso Gaxa, but the hosts held on to remain on the fringes of the top eight. The visitors, meanwhile, stayed top, but with their lead now cut to eight points by Mamelodi Sundowns.

At the start of the game, it was one-way traffic for the opening 15 minutes as Chiefs began like a runaway train.

George Maluleka tested Virgil Vries as early as the opening minute with a low shot that was straight at the Namibian goalkeeper, who then did well to beat Siphelele Mthembu to a dangerous Kgotso Moleko cross swung over from the right.

Another Maluleka effort went over not long after as the pressure continued to come from the visitors.

But United had the best chance of the opening half after 17 minutes, when an ambitious Philani Zulu cross from the left was not dealt with by a defender and fell at the feet of Thamsanqa Mkhize, who should have hit the target instead of shooting wide.

Chiefs’ attempted responses continued to come via long-range shots from outside the penalty area – a sign that they continued to struggle in attack since the January departure of Kingston Nkhatha.

The home side then had further long-range efforts from Mondli Cele and Ryan de Jongh fly over, before again coming extremely close before the break when the former’s inviting cross from the right was somehow diverted away for a corner by Moleko.

Chiefs began the second period like they did the first, with plenty of panache and energy.

They produced two of their best chances too as captain Tefu Mashamaite wastefully powered over a close-range header from Bernard Parker’s free-kick.

United boss Steve Komphele made three attacking substitutions as Thokozani Sekotlong, Terrance Mandaza and Banda were all thrown on.

And it proved a masterstroke as Banda netted with his first touch to silence most of the near 12 000-crowd.

With time running out, Vrises saved sharply from a header, diving to his right, with Gaxa then shaking the crossbar, but Maritzburg held on.

Meanwhile, Mamelodi Sundowns handed Polokwane City a 5-0 thumping. The defending Premiership champions wrapped up the victory through a brace from Khama Billiat and goals from Cuthbert Malajila, Rodney Ramagalela and Anthony Laffor.

At the Free State Stadium, Alfred Ndengane struck midway through the first half as Bloemfontein Celtic continued their fine run of Premiership form with a 1-0 win over SuperSport United

In other results, Ajax Cape Town made it two wins in a row when they edged out Black Aces 2-1; Moroka Swallows beat Free State Stars 2-1 in a vital relegation encounter; Eleazar Rodgers scored a late goal as Platinum Stars stole all three points against the University of Pretoria.

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