Chiefs championship hopes in tatters

By Drum Digital
01 May 2014

Chiefs championship hopes in tatters after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Free State Stars.

Kaizer Chiefs hopes of retaining the Premier League title appeared to be in tatters after they were held to a 1-1 draw by relegation-threatened Free State Stars at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Wednesday night.

After a tense encounter in Chiefs' home-from-home in Polokwane, the Amakhosi now find themselves trailing log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns by four points with two fixtures remaining.

The stark reality for Chiefs is that if Sundowns beat SuperSport in the Pretoria derby next Tuesday, the championship race will be abruptly over, with the team known as The Brazilians ending a seven-year Premier League title drought.

The draw marks the continuation of what has been a staggering fall from grace of the Soweto glamour side, who a month ago appeared to have a second successive championship in their grasp with a clear-cut six point advantage in the title race.

Chiefs' humbling fall from grace has been heightened by successive defeats and elimination from Caf's Champions League and Confederation Cup in April at the hands of the Congo's AS Vita and the Ivory Coast's ASEC Mimosas after proclaiming high hopes of making an impact in African soccer.

And indeed the Amakhosi never looked like championship material in what was an evenly-contested game against battling Stars, with the share of the spoils a just outcome after both sides scored late in the proceedings through substitutes who had only briefly been on the pitch.

It was Chiefs who opened the score with a headed goal from Katlego Mphela in the 69th minute after the ball had bounced off the crossbar from another headed attempt.

Chiefs immediately launching another assault on the Stars' goal, the injured Bruce Mtshali struggled to his feet when the referee appeared on the verge of halting play - and Mphela took advantage of the disarray in the Free State side's defence.

But to Stars' credit they never stopped striving for an equaliser and they gained just the reward in the 84th minute when Thabo Moloi, who had come onto the field five minutes earlier as a substitute, took advantage of successive defensive errors in the Chiefs' defence to score from close range.

Stars still remain in the second bottom position on the log that threatens to put them into the relegation-promotion playoffs with teams from the National First Division at the end of the season.

But the draw gained should go a long way in enabling the Free State side from avoiding automatic relegation that now appears the fate of bottom-of-the-log Golden Arrows, who trail Stars by four points going into he fateful final two rounds of PSL fixtures.


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