15 April 2018
Kaizer Chiefs (0) 1 (Ekstein 49’)
Platinum Stars 0
Kaizer Chiefs beat Platinum Stars 1-0 in an Absa Premiership match at FNB Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Hendrick Ekstein scored the winner in the 49th minute. Amakhosi fully deserved the three points.
Tsepo Masilela got his first start after getting injured in the game against SuperSport United in August 2017. He was positioned on the left side of Amakhosi’s three centre-backs. Chiefs had three players out injured, Ramahlwe Mphahlele (hamstring), Teenage Hadebe (ankle) and Erick Mathoho, we suffered a concussion last week.
There was some rain just before kick-off, but the pitch, as usual, was in excellent condition.
The match had a little bit of a slow start. But Amakhosi did get their first goalscoring opportunity in the 23rd minute when Joseph Molangoane whipped in an excellent cross from the right, which found the head of Ryan Moon. Sadly, the lanky striker’s header just missed the target.
Nine minutes later, Leonardo Castro released a powerful shot from just outside the box, hitting the bottom corner, but Stars’ goalkeeper made a brilliant save diving to his left.
The visitors, meanwhile, didn’t create any proper chances to score with Daniel Cardoso again doing well leading the defence and intercepting passes when necessary.
There was another shot at goal from Castro in the 37th minute, but this one was from a tight angle with the ball flying past the wrong side of the goalpost.
Chiefs continued to be the better side in the first half with in particular Joseph Molangoane having a good game on the right wing.
The Glamour Boys started the second half determined and it already resulted in a goal in the 49th minute. Molangoane delivered another telling cross into Stars’ box, Castro just missed the ball, which landed accordingly in front of Hendrick Ekstein, who easily tapped the ball in from close range. It was the midfielder’s first league goal this season.
Coach Steve Komphela decided to bring on Siphelele Ntshangase for Ryan Moon in the 61st minute.
It was a much better performance from Chiefs in the second half. Willard Katsande got a great opportunity to double the lead in the 63rd minute, but his head failed to connect properly with the ball, which slided past the goal.
The Glamour Boys got a few more chances to extend the lead, but the ball just didn’t want to end into the back of the net.
It was a hard fought win over Platinum Stars and a good result ahead of next week’s Nedbank Cup semifinal.
Key moment in the match:
That must have been the goal from Hendrick ‘Pule’ Ekstein just after the half-time break. Joseph Molangoane put a well-weighted cross into the box, which found Pule’s feet. Ekstein might not score too often, but this was a crucial one.
Most Valuable Player (MVP):
Daniel Cardoso was again fully in charge of his defence, while Joseph ‘Tight’ Molangoane was doing on superb job on the wing putting several dangerous crosses into the box. Willard Katsande was again fighting and hustling in his usual central midfield role, winning numerous balls. However, it was Hendrick Ekstein who selected as the Man of the Match for netting the match winning goal.
What it means:
Chiefs are now on 42 points from 27 games, being in fourth position on the Absa Premiership log, although they have as many points as third positioned Maritzburg United, but the Pietermaritzburg-based side has a better goal difference.
Kaizer Chiefs 11: Khune; Ngezana, Cardoso, Masilela (Tshabalala 80’); Molangoane, Katsande, Ekstein, Parker, Zulu; Castro (Maluleka 84’), Moon (Ntshangase 61’)
Subs not used: Khuzwayo, Ngezana, Meyiwa, Zuma
Platinum Stars 11: Mzimela; Mere, Sithole, Mkhabela, Gcaba (Koapeng 82’); Norodien (Phiri 67’), Gome, De Jongh, Tshabangu; Baloyi (Mekoa 67’), Ntuli
Subs not used: Visser, Ng’ambi, Mpeta, Mlilo
Kaizer Chiefs will host Free State Stars in a Nedbank Cup semifinal fixture at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday evening, 21 April 2018 (kick-off is at 20:15). The tickets are already on sale at TicketPro outlets.