Kaizer Chiefs held on for a 2-1 win in a game of two contrasting halves against Baroka FC at FNB Stadium on Wednesday.
It was an impressive home debut for Keagan Dolly, who contributed to several moments of Chiefs brilliance that ultimate set the teams apart in the opening half.'
It was a fast-start as Chiefs fluffed a golden chance in the opening minute after Boroka 'keeper Oscarine Masuluke came out of his box to clear the ball, but missed it altogether. Bernard Parker had the ball at his feet with only Vusi Sibiya in between him and goal, but the defender put his body on the line to block the shot.
Nonetheless, Chiefs needed just another few minutes to open the scoring. Njabulo Blom made a great run down the right-wing and executed an inch-perfect pass to a waiting Khama Billiat, who side-footed the ball into the back of the net.
Amakhosi then doubled their advantage in the 26th minute. Defender Sifiso Hlanti delivered a dangerous cross which found Daniel Cardoso, who showed great skill to glance the ball into the top right corner with a looping header.
Just two minutes later, a deflection off a Baroka defender pulled out a brilliant save from Masuluke, who had to track back and flick the ball over the crossbar. Chiefs continued to press via and earned more chances via Billiat and Parker, with the former being denied by the post then missing an easy chance on the half-time whistle.
The frustration for the Baroka forwards continued in the second stanza as Chiefs starved them of the ball early on.
Despite scant opportunity, Baroka were given a glimmer of hope via setpiece. A curling corner sailed over all the Chiefs’ defence and Dewnin Farmer drilled the volley low and hard past gloveman Bruce Bavuma to make the score 2-1 with 30 minutes to play.
Baroka striker Richard Mbula had a chance to level the game when the Chiefs defence were napping. A quick throw-in and sharp cross led to Mbulu charging in at the far post, but his header would fly across the face of the goal.
Sensing an increasingly nervous Chiefs back quartet, Bakgakga continued to chase the game. That man Farmer would have two late chances to level matters. First, his half-volley went over the crossbar, then - in the final movement of the game - he forced a save from Bavuma with a low header.