Absa Premiership

Chiefs down Highlands to go top

Lorenzo Gordinho (Gallo)
Lorenzo Gordinho (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs reclaimed top spot in the Premiership standings as they narrowly beat Highlands Park 1-0 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.

A bumpy and sandy pitch made conditions difficult for both teams and in the end a solitary goal from Lorenzo Gordinho clinched a fifth straight win for Steve Komphela's side, who moved two points clear of Bidvest Wits and Cape Town City at the league summit.

Chiefs saw plenty of the ball in the opening stages and their first two chances fell to Lucky Baloyi, whose deflected shot on eight minutes was comfortably gathered by Tapuwa Kapini, before the keeper made another easy save from the midfielder's more ambitious long-range effort in the 14th minute.

The hosts threatened again moments later when Edmore Chirambadare's left-wing cross was tipped away from under his crossbar by Kapini, but Bernard Parker was unable to convert on the follow-up after collecting Siphiwe Tshabalala's ball back into the danger area.

Peter Shalulile then went close at the other end on 17 minutes when he controlled a cross from Siyabonga Nhlapo to hook a shot inches wide of the left post.

Franklin Cale should have broken the deadlock two minutes before the half-hour mark after being played in by a delightful though-ball from Charlton Mashumba, but Itumeleng Khune was relieved to see him scuff a shot wide of the left post from 14 yards out.

Joseph Molangoane created space for a shot with a change of pace to beat his man on 35 minutes, but his effort from 22 yards out flew wide of the right post.

Amakhosi were celebrating the lead just four minutes later, however, when Gordinho headed home from inside the six-yard box after Ramahlwe Mphahlele had flicked on Tshabalala's corner at the near post.

Tsepo Masilela wasted a glorious opportunity to double Chiefs' lead in first-half stoppage time as he timed his run into the box perfectly to get on the end of a cross from the right, but his downward header from eight yards out lacked the pace to beat Kapini.

Willard Katsande failed to test the visiting keeper with his strike from distance on 56 minutes, while a deflected effort from Parker caused Kapini no problems soon afterwards. 

Khune was finally called into action on 66 minutes as he parried away a firm shot from Khethukuthula Zwane 20 yards out on the left, while at the other end Baloyi fired wide of the left post from outside the box 11 minutes later after being teed up by Molangoane on the right.

Chiefs survived a couple of late scares when first Mashumba lashed the ball inches wide of the right post from the edge of the box on 86 minutes after cutting inside from the left, before Edwin Sitayitayi hit the side-netting from 12 yards out on the right after being sent through on goal.

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