27 May 2017
Kaizer Chiefs (0) 1 (Páez 92’)
Bidvest Wits 0
It was a tough battle against the Absa Premiership champions Bidvest Wits and a draw would probably have been a fair result. However, it was Kaizer Chiefs striker Gustavo Páez who scored the winner in extra time.
Ryan Moon got his first official start for Kaizer Chiefs, partnering the Venezuelan Páez up-front.
Emmanuel Letlotlo started ahead of George Lebese, while Daniel Cardoso replaced Erick Mathoho, who is still suffering a little from his concussion sustained in the match against Platinum Stars ten days ago.
Siphiwe Tshabalala had a bit of flu and it was decided to rest the midfielder as a result.
Chiefs started as the better side, getting some good chances to open the scoreline.
Letlotlo looked lively and got two early opportunities, but both his header and his shot failed to hit the target. The youngster should have done better.
Another golden chance arrived for Hendrick Ekstein, but the skilful midfielder’s shot from close range went wide.
After about 30 minutes, Wits got more into the game, even though it didn’t result immediately in many chances for the league champions.
Willard Katsande was again playing well, anchoring the midfield and putting in some tough tackles to win possession of the ball.
The Clever Boys, meanwhile, had some early set-backs when two of their players got injured, Daine Klate and Granwald Scott. They were replaced in respectively the 37th and 44th minute.
The visitors played better in the second half and created a few chances, but goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune was in fine form, which he has been all season.
Coach Komphela tried to change the direction of the game by bringing on William Twala and Joseph Molangoane early in the second half.
It did result in some opportunities with the best coming for George Maluleka, but his header went straight to the goalkeeper.
Chiefs were definitely the more adventurous side, especially towards the later stages of the game.
And just when everybody thought that the match would finish in a draw, it was George Lebese who went past the Wits goalkeeper, while moving slightly to the left, before passing the ball beautifully to Páez, who easily slotted the ball in the back of the net, 1-0. Chiefs had beaten the league champions.
Key moment in the match:
Not so much a key moment of the match, but a key moment of the season would be Kaizer Chiefs not losing a singly game at home, as the only team in the Absa Premiership. Amakhosi played 15 home games, winning 8 and drawing 7 (collecting 31 points), while scoring 20 times and conceding 9 goals.
Most Valuable Player (MVP):
Willard Katsande was again influential in the middle of park, making life uneasy for the Bidvest Wits players, especially their midfielders. However, the Absa Premiership Man of the Match award was, deservedly so, handed over to Gustavo Páez, who made again numerous unselfish off-the-ball runs and was involved in most of Kaizer Chiefs’ threatening attacks towards the opponent’s goal. And then, in extra time, the Venezuelan striker netted the match-winner.
What it means:
The win means that Kaizer Chiefs finish the Absa Premiership in fourth position (50 points from 30 games), going past SuperSport United who lost at home to Platinum Stars (48 points). With Matsatsantsa finishing in fifth spot, we will host them next season in the first round of the MTN8.
Kaizer Chiefs 11: Khune; Mphahlele, Cardoso, Gordinho, Masilela; Ekstein (Lebese 79’), Katsande, Maluleka, Letlotlo (Twala 54’); Moon (Molangoane 60’), Páez
Subs not used: Bvuma, Moleko, Parker, Buchanan
Bidvest Wits 11: Keet; Hlatshwayo, Scott (Motshwari 44’), Khumalo; Gaxa, Monare, Ngele (Sheppard 69’), Hlanti; Pelembe, Keene, Klate (Pule 37’)
Subs not used: Josephs, Rodgers, Mhango, Ntshangase
Next Match: The Kaizer Chiefs players will now go into off-season. Next up is a big pre-season friendly – the Carling Black Label Champion cup match against Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium on Saturday, 29 July (kick-off is at 15:30).