Chiefs held by AmaZulu

2007-12-06 00:00

KAIZER Chiefs had hoped to start their push up the PSL table with a win over AmaZulu at King’s Park last night, but had to settle for a 1-1 draw.

A flat performance from Amakhosi was perhaps a result of their hangover from winning the R4,25 million Telkom Knockout final on Saturday night.

The final, too, had taken its toll on Chiefs’ player power, with Tinashe Nengomasha and Shaun Bartlett picking up suspensions and Thabo Mooki an injury, while goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune pulled out of the game at the last minute due to illness.

Nengomasha and Khune, the hero of the Telkom penalty shootout, have been Chiefs’ most influential players this season, and their presence was clearly missed. But this could not entirely explain Amakhosi’s continued inability to fire on all cylinders in the league this season. Last night’s draw, and Black Leopards’ shock 2-1 victory over Mamelodi Sundowns in Pretoria, sees Chiefs slip from 13th to 14th.

While Chiefs were not at their best, nothing should be taken from a spirited performance by AmaZulu, the home team showing little respect for their illustrious visitors and notching up yet another impressive result.

An exciting game was played at a fast, and sometimes frenetic, pace though not always with the best structure. There were good scoring chances for both sides, but generally resulting from defensive lapses rather than constructive attacking football from either side.

The first half was lively and even-matched, with AmaZulu intent on stamping their authority in their home fixture.

If anything it was Usuthu who created more of the clear-cut chances, particularly when the Durban side really should have scored midway through the half. Emille Baron — the replacement for Khune — showed little sign of rustiness from his lack of game time for the past season-and-a-half, the former Lillestrom’ keeper making an excellent double save from the close-range shots of Nhlanhla Zwane, then Dumisane Ngwenya.

Chiefs took the lead at the start of the second half in simple fashion. Tshabalala’s corner into the area in the 53rd minute was swung in with a flat trajectory, and striker Kaizer Motaung Junior rose above the defence and headed in his first league goal of the season.

AmaZulu, though, hit straight back within two minutes, although it took a defensive mix-up between defender Derrick Spencer and Baron, both trying to clear Effort Sithole’s cross, to gift Shoes Moshoeu a finish into an open goal.

With the game opening up, Sibeko’s free-kick from the left was headed across goal by Khenyeza to substitute David Obua, who headed wide.

AmaZulu’s top scorer Ngwenya missed a sitter in embarrassing fashion in the 67th minute when, after bursting into the Chiefs area, the striker failed to connect a bouncing ball and ended up face-planting the King’s Park turf, to the jeers of the Amakhosi supporters.

With eight minutes to go left-back Onismor Bhasera pulled down AmaZulu midfielder Siyabonga Mkhwanazi on the edge of the area and was sent off by referee Buyile Gqubile, who had to endure a roasting from the Johannesburg team’s fans after the final whistle.

A brace by Fischer Kondowe sunk Sundowns in Pretoria, with Surprise Moriri scoring the lone reply, in a result that will put pressure on Downs coach Gordon Igesund. Lerato Chabangu was sent off in the 70th minute.

Last night: AmaZulu 1 Kaizer Chiefs 1, Mamelodi Sundowns 1 Black Leopards 2.

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