Kaizer Chiefs in nervy draw

2014-11-23 00:28

Eleven teams have tried and Mamelodi Sundowns yesterday came close to handing Kaizer Chiefs a first Absa Premiership defeat, but the joy lasted just 12 minutes for the defending champions.

As it turned out, it took two men – Teko Modise and George Lebese – with their big match temperaments to unlock what was a tactically charged game.

Some of the chances that were created during the game were few and far between as the visitors resorted to long-range attempts, while the hosts never really threatened on the rare occasions when they were clear in front

of goal.

The drawn result was still a true reflection of the turn of events at the Calabash as Chiefs salvaged a point that took their unbeaten league streak to 11 games.

The gap between the two sides remained at 12 points with four matches remaining to conclude the first round.

The outcome could have been different if Cuthbert Malajila had capitalised on a scoring opportunity six minutes after Modise had given the visitors the lead with a well-taken goal in the 53rd minute.

But poor defending by the visitors, as was the case when Chiefs gave Modise a sniff at goal, resulted in Lebese poking home the equaliser that extended Sundowns’ winless league run to four matches.

Coach Pitso Mosimane’s side last won a league fixture when they beat Polokwane City 3-0 in September and yesterday’s result put a further strain on his side’s hopes of defending the title.

As the two sides went home to recharge after yesterday’s clash, it will be interesting to see how coach Stuart Baxter reshuffles his team in the build-up to the Soweto derby against Orlando Pirates here in a fortnight.

This is because Chiefs have key players Siphiwe Tshabalala and George Maluleka on three yellow cards and suspension looms if any of the trio get booked in Amakhosi’s next two fixtures – against Polokwane City on Tuesday or Bidvest Wits on December 3.

Reneilwe Letsholonyane’s yellow card yesterday means he is suspended for the City game.

What is more interesting is how Amakhosi will use what seems like an added advantage in their seven remaining fixtures before the Christmas break.

Chiefs will shuttle between Johannesburg and Polokwane, starting with their game on Tuesday until December 20.

They travel to Peter Mokaba Stadium, which is their alternative home ground, for their clash against City, a game that the Limpopo side host on Tuesday.

On the other hand, Sundowns were to have faced their hoodoo opponent, Platinum Stars, in Rustenburg on Tuesday, but the game had to be rescheduled as Stars will play in the final of the Telkom Knockout on Saturday.

The Brazilians will next meet Pirates in Soweto on December 3.

They are scheduled for Pretoria derbies against SuperSport United (December 7) and University of Pretoria on December 13.

»?Meanwhile, Polokwane City struck twice in the second half to stun Mpumalanga Black Aces with a 2-1 victory at Kanyamazane Stadium, outside Nelspruit.

»?Bidvest Wits beat Free State Stars 2-0 at Bidvest Stadium last night.

»?Ajax Cape Town and Maritzburg United played to a goalless draw at the Cape Town Stadium.

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