Amakhosi keep title hopes alive

2012-03-22 08:15

Kaizer Chiefs kept their eye on the Absa Premiership title with a 2-0 win over Bloemfontein Celtic in Polokwane, Limpopo, yesterday evening.

Amakhosi, with 36 points after 21 matches, were left five points adrift of pacesetters Mamelodi Sundowns in the final stretch of the league marathon.

Lucky Baloyi opened the scoring with a stunning long-range shot from 40m out in the 36th minute as the hosts took a 1-0 interval lead.

Striker Lehlohonolo Majoro netted after 52 minutes to seal the victory, calmly slotting past Thabang Stemmer.

It was Majoro’s eighth goal of the season, bringing confidence back to a Chiefs side in front of a near capacity crowd at Peter Mokaba Stadium.

The hosts had came off a 3-2 loss to archrivals Orlando Pirates at the weekend, but were composed yesterday.

Celtic, who beat Santos 2-0 at home in their last match, started off with a defensive plan. They hoped to catch Chiefs on the counter-attack, a strategy that back-fired, particularly in the first half.

Their most meaningful effort came when goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune splendidly used his legs to deny Letlabi Mofokeng from close range as Phunya Sele Sele looked to equalise shortly before the interval.

The visitors wasted chances with Phenyo Mongala blasting wide a free-kick midway through the opening period.

Celtic opened up in the second stanza and looked to be more positive going forward, but Chiefs doubled their margin seven minutes after the break.

Baloyi could have sealed a brace in a refreshing performance for the midfielder on the hour mark.

However, he shot narrowly wide of goal inside the penalty box, having been brilliantly set up by a busy Siphiwe Tshabalala.

There was a controversial moment midway through the second half as Stemmer fouled Tshabalala just outside the box, but only received a yellow card from referee Daniel Bennett.

Tshabalala blasted the resulting free-kick harmlessly over the bar.

Fellow midfielder Josta Dladla could have found the back of the net, twice shooting wide off target with just Stemmer to beat in the dying moments.

Chiefs had done enough, though, to hand Celtic their eighth loss of the season.

The Free State outfit rarely raised a threat in the second stanza, falling short in their efforts to create chances, and clearly missed suspended midfielder Clifford Mulenga.

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