Two second half goals from Sthembiso Ngcobo and Siphiwe Tshabalala saw Kaizer Chiefs end a three game losing streak in the Absa Premiership and almost hand Orlando Pirates the title as they beat Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 in a league match at the FNB stadium on Wednesday night.
The result means the Buccaneers top the Absa Premiership while ‘Downs trail them by three points thanks to the Amakhosi’s first win under caretaker coach Ace Khuse.
The first 45 minutes saw the visiting side with the majority of the possession, but offered very little in attack as they struggled to break down a resolute Amakhosi defence and had to shoot from long range with very little effect.
In fact, while seeing less of the ball, Chiefs created the better of the chances in front of goal, Josta Dladla the Phefeni Glamour Boys main playmaker in the idle of the park.
In only the fourth minute Ngcobo highlighted his threat in attack when he drove into the box and forced Wayne Sandilands into a close range save, the keeper spreading himself well in a one-on-one situation to deny the attacker.
Sundowns were looking to make use of the flanks and the likes of Lebohang Mokoena and Punch Masenamela were causing Chiefs problems in defence, but the Brazilians delivery into the box was nowhere near as good as their build-up play.
Instead, frustrated and unable to break down a stubborn defence, ‘Downs shot from long range, their best attempt coming in the 37th minute from Hlompho Kekana. The midfielder’s shot, though, while powerful, was straight at the Itumeleng Khune who made a comfortable save.
The best chance of the half actually came six minutes prior to Kekana’s effort and fell to the home side.
Jimmy Tau drove down the right flank and whipped in a great cross to find an unmarked Bernard Parker, but the striker miss-timed his jump and headed the ball well wide when he should have hit the target.
The game went into the break all square at 0-0.
The second half saw ‘Downs start positively and they nearly took the lead three minutes in when Mokoena showed Lincoln Zvasiya a clean pair of heels as he rounded him on the left side of the box, but saw his four-yard shot well saved by Khune.
Ten minutes later, though, and the Brazilians would see themselves go behind thanks to a mistake at the back by Sandilands, his only error of the night.
The keeper raced off his goalline and out of his box to intercept a Tshabalala through ball, but missed the ball completely under pressure from Ngcobo who then showed composure to capitalise on the mistake and fire his side in front, 1-0.
The goal seemed to give Chiefs more confidence and they were bitterly unlucky not to double their lead in the 63rd minute when a brilliant save from Sandilands, diving to his right, denied Parker from just inside the box.
In the 71st minute Sandilands was again at his best when, this time, he flung himself to his left, making a fingertip save to deny Dladla from just outside the box.
There was nothing, however, Sandilands could do three minutes from time when Tshabalala put the result beyond doubt.
It was inevitable that Chiefs would hit on the counter and it was an excellent finish from the Bafana man from ten-yards out as he broke behind the ‘Downs defence, 2-0.
The three points is the Amkahosi’s first in four games, breaking a three match losing streak in the league and seriously stunting the Brazilians title hopes.
Kaizer Chiefs (0) 2 (Ngcobo 58’, Tshabalala 87’)
Mamelodi Sundowns (0) 0
Chiefs: Khune; Tau, Mashamaite, Zvasiya, Jambo, Dladla, Nengomasha, Baloyi (Letsholonyane 46’), Tshabalala, Parker (Ritchie 86’), Ngcobo (Majoro 71’)
Sundowns: Sandilands; Maponyane, Xulu, Daniels, Masenamela, Moriri, Zwane (Mphela 73’), Mokoena (Modise 82’), Kekana, Nyatama (Pelembe 62’), Mushekwi