Chiefs down Arrows 1-0

2013-12-20 00:00

IT was a resilient display from Golden Arrows, but nowhere near good enough to stop Kaizer Chiefs running out 1-0 winners in a PSL clash at Moses Mabhida Stadium last night.

Bernard Parker scored the only goal of the game with a 47th minute penalty in a result that sees the pressure increase on under-fire manager Mark Harrison.

The game started slowly, with Chiefs showing patience in their build-ups. While Arrows weren’t seeing a lot of the ball, they would have been happy that goalkeeper Ryan Harrison wasn’t called into action until the 26th minute when Knowledge Musona benefited from a delicate Reneilwe Letsholonyane touch, only to hit his effort straight at Arrows’ shot stopper.

Before that, both Parker and Siphiwe Tshabalala had half chances, but neither of them could force a save out of Harrison.

Chiefs were dominant in mid-field, being allowed space and time, while Arrows were a far more organised defensive unit than they were on Monday night against AmaZulu.

Letsholonyane came close when he capitalised on an error from Arrows playmaker Lebogang Mothibantwa — his volley dipping agonisingly over the crossbar.

But the most entertaining moment of the half happened in a frantic two minute period.

First, Arrows nearly stole the lead when burly striker Bongi Ntuli reached a tame back header before Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune. But the Bafana Bafana captain was on top of Ntuli before he could get a shot away.

Seconds later, a sublime movement from Chiefs down the right hand flank saw the ball fall for Tsepo Masilela on the left of Arrows’ area. Masilela squared the ball across the face of goal, and Arrows centre back Joseph Musonda reacted first but deflected the ball onto his own crossbar. Siboniso Gaxa then met the rebound with his head, but that effort cannoned into the right upright — the woodwork saving Arrows twice to somehow keep them level.

It was then the turn of the left hand upright to keep Arrows alive when Siya Nkosi saw an effort slightly deflected by Harrison before going off the post and out for a corner.

For all of Arrows’ defensive work and good fortune in the first period, they went behind in the cruellest fashion as the second half resumed.

Tshabalala got on the end of an Nkosi cross, but his header went straight into the air. Arrows left back Siyabonga Tom then made a mess of the clearance, and the ball bounced of the turf and onto his arm — the referee making a difficult decision to point to the spot.

Parker made no mistake with the penalty, sending Harrison the wrong way to put Chiefs 1-0 up.

That goal knocked the life out of what had been a courageous Arrows performance. The home side tried to get forward, but it took them a while to recover. Tshabalala nearly made it 2-0 on 70 minutes, but Harrison was equal to the effort on a night when he played well enough to deserve a clean sheet.

Arrows came closest in the 81st minute when substitute Jabulani Nene fired a shot at Khune that was saved at point blank range after a cross had come in from Nkanyiso Mlotshwa.

The home side finished strongly, making life uncomfortable for Chiefs, but in the end it wasn’t enough to prevent another loss that sees them rooted to the foot of the table.

Arrows travel to Soweto for a date with Orlando Pirates on Sunday.

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