United power past Chiefs

2013-09-01 14:00

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Champions went into the break with a 1-0 lead, but hosts put three past them in the second half

Defending Absa Premiership champions Kaizer Chiefs were last night left with a lot to pounder about.

Their first defeat of the season painted a performance graph that pointed at a steady decline since they last won against Mpumalanga Black Aces on the opening day of the current campaign.

Still, reeling from a 1-1 draw against Moroka Swallows midweek, Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter needed a turnaround in Atteridgeville. But he hit the deck against a tactically smart United side that exposed even a five-man Amakhosi defence the former Bafana coach deployed last night.

What a start it has been for United coach Cavin Johnson, who with this victory picked up a third straight set of maximum points for a 100% rate in his three league matches in charge.

United displaced Mamelodi Sundowns and Moroka Swallows at the top of the standings.

The Pretoria side will host Swallows on September 18, which will be three days after their fixture against Black Aces.

Amakhosi’s formation last night suggested that Baxter attempted the adage “some games you win ugly” and did away with the creative element but it all backfired.

He left out midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane on the bench and opted for Lucky Baloyi, who seldom pushed forward and instead, the youngster was mainly stuck with his defensive partner Willard Katsande.

Katsande was again at is reckless self with unwarranted tackles that earned him his second booking of the season.

This could stifle Amakhosi leading to the MTN8 Cup showdown against Orlando Pirates three league matches away from now, as three yellow cards lead to suspension.

Meanwhile, Letsholonyane’s omission did not only leave his side poorer but it would be a concern for Bafana coach Gordon Igesund, who would need his national team charge match-fit for the crucial World Cup qualifier against Botswana on Saturday.

The Bafana mentor would also have noted that his goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune’s confidence might have received a knock after he was beaten five times in three matches in the last three weeks.

The goalkeeper should not be faulted for any of the goals that he let in last night, particularly when he had five defenders that were supposed to have protected him.

Baxter had placed three comebacks – Morgan Gould, Mulomowandau Mathoho and Tefu Mashamaite in the Chiefs rearguard.

In addition to their passing game, United countered with long balls that created one-on-one situations that led to the Amakhosi defenders giving in under pressure.

In a stark contrast, the United defence had an easy night dealing with Knowledge Musona, who seemingly is trying too hard to endear himself to the Amakhosi fans.

The Zimbabwean striker is yet to forge a formidable partnership with Parker.

But credit should go to United captain Thabo September who, despite being understated, led his team-mates with aplomb from the back.

How they lined up

SuperSport

Williams, Nkausu, September, Diouf, Mdledle, Gyimah, Mkhabela, Chenene (Maluleka 86th), Mathebula (Maluleke 86th), Phala, Grobler

Unused subs: Fernadez (goalkeeper), Moloi, Nkoana, Lentjies, Niang

Chiefs

Khune, Gaxa, Mathoho (Lebese 83rd), Gould, Mashamaite, Masilela, Tshabalala, Katsande, Baloyi, Parker, Musona (Majoro 83rd)

Unused subs: Khuzwayo (goalkeeper), Ritchie, Letsholonyane, Dladla, Motaung Jnr

Key moments

» Chiefs had earlier knocked on United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams’ goal area, particularly Siphiwe Tshabalala, who came close on two occasions in the opening half.

» Referee Robert Smith was spot on to adjudge United defensive midfielder Edwin Gyimah to have handled the ball inside the box.

» United midfielder David Mathebula underlined his qualities as one of the finest with a cheeky move that led to the equaliser by Enocent Mkhabela, whose left-footed scorcher will definitely be a contender for goal of the season.

» The exclusion of Mame Niang in the United starting line-up also worked against Baxter’s tactics as Johnson brought in his own surprise element by handing Bradley Grobler a starting berth.

» Earlier in Durban, Mamelodi Sundowns beat Golden Arrows 1-0 through a goal by Togolese striker Dove Wome. Maritzburg United were held to a goalless draw by Pretoria University.

» Today’s fixtures: Ajax Cape Town vs AmaZulu; Celtic vs Free State Stars

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