Chiefs stay in the running

2009-03-04 00:00

KAIZER Chiefs kept themselves in with an outside chance of winning the Premier Soccer League title with a hard-fought 1-0 Premier Soccer League victory over Lamontville Golden Arrows at Chatsworth Stadium last night.

Still with a game in hand, Chiefs remain nine points behind leaders SuperSport United, who were 1-0 winners over Bloemfontein Celtic in Pretoria. Amakhosi are just a point behind third-placed Mamelodi Sundowns, who lost 2-0 last night at Ellis Park to Orlando Pirates, now the PSL runners-up.

Amakhosi coach Muhsin Ertugral must sometimes wonder why his team cannot be this efficient every game. Chiefs came into the match off a 3-0 defeat to SuperSport and their inconsistency has cost them in their title-challenging endeavours.

Last night’s game was played at a furious pace with the ball skilfully worked around the length and breadth of the Chatsworth pitch by both sides.

And yet it took until the half-hour mark for the first shot to be fired in anger by Chiefs’ Zimbabwean Tinashe Nengomasha, whose powerful drive whistled just over the bar.

Minutes later pacy Arrows right-wing Philani Shange won the ball on the edge of the area and steamed in, but saw his shot excellently saved by Itumeleng Khune falling to his right.

Skilful forward Abia Nale has impressed since his transfer from Arrows to Chiefs in the January transfer window. His twinkle-toed attacks in the first half looked the most dangerous of any player, and he kept his old defensive team-mates on their toes.

In the 44th minute, Chiefs left-back Onismor Bhasera slid into a challenge on Nale and was unlucky to hand-ball on the edge of his area. Siyabonga Sangweni’s shot from the free-kick pierced the wall and was just wide.

Chiefs took the lead 10 minutes into the second half as left-wing Siphiwe Tshabalala’s speculative shot from the edge of the area took a deflection off the legs of Sangweni and looped in past stranded goalkeeper Brenden Wardle.

Amakhosi were on the ascendant and, with the Arrows’ defence stretched, the dangerous Tshabalala slipped substitute Jose Torrealba through on the left in the 71st minute and the Venezuelan’s shot slipped wide of the right upright.

At the other end, Arrows remained dangerous as Nhlanhla Zothwane blasted over from a good position, then Shange came closer after creating space on the right of the area.

Chiefs should have made it 2-0 with 11 minutes left when Tshabalala’s ball found Josta Dladla in space on the right. He squared with Wardle in no-man’s land, but Torrealba could not control in front of an open goal.

Khune again kept his side in the game with another fine right-handed save in the 88th minute after Arrows’ top scorer, Richard Henyekane, had burst in on the right.

Sapa reports that a 10-man Orlando Pirates side produced their best display of the season when they routed fellow title challengers Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 in a heart-stopping Absa Premiership showdown played at Ellis Park last night.

Bucs were forced to play the last 30 minutes a man short when defender Lucky Lekgwathi was sent off by referee Daniel Bennett for a second bookable offence.

Last night: Orlando Pirates 2 Mamelodi Sundowns 0, Wits University 1 Ajax Cape Town 0, Supersport United 1 Bloemfontein Celtic 0, Lamontville Golden Arrows 0 Kaizer Chiefs 1, Free State Stars 0 Platinum Stars 0, Moroka Swallows 0 AmaZulu 1

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