Kaizer Chiefs (1) 1
(Du Preez 6’)
Marumo Gallants (1) 1
At FNB Stadium
Kaizer Chiefs were held to a 1-1 draw by Marumo Gallants on a frustrating Saturday night for Amakhosi, who will feel they ought to have won the DStv Premiership encounter at FNB Stadium comfortably.
Leading through an early Ashley Du Preez goal, Chiefs dominated the bulk of the exchanges without adding to their advantage before Ranga Chivoviro equalised late in the first period.
Despite an admirable effort in the second half, Amakhosi were unable to breach the dogged Gallants defence.
Amakhosi were on top from the outset and were deservedly ahead after only six minutes. Clever midfield combination play between Samkelo Zwane and Yusuf Maart allowed the latter to release Du Preez into the inside left channel. He turned on the afterburners and left Ayanda Nkili in his wake before placing the ball beyond the grasp of Washington Arubi in the Gallants goal.
Chiefs came close to doubling the score within 60 seconds when Saile was found by a long ball over the defence from Dove. The Congolese striker tried to square the ball to Du Preez when he might have taken on the shot himself, and the ball was cleared.
Amakhosi were much in control of the first half, with Du Preez threatening down the left flank and Dillon Solomons causing problems for Gallants on the right but the second goal just eluded them as the opposition hung on at times.
Then, in the 36th minute, against the run of play, Arubi’s long goal kick was misjudged by Dove and Chivoviro stole in to dispossess him and beat Brandon Petersen from a very tight angle to level the scores.
Maart came close to restoring the lead a minute before half-time with a powerful left-footed shot that Arubi managed to punch away, with the teams having to settle with going into the break at 1-1.
Chivoviro spurned a glorious chance to net his second early in the second half but from then on, it was Chiefs who were largely dictating proceedings and had Gallants pinned back for much of the second half.
Siyabonga Ngezana, whose colossal performance at the back seems to be winning back the hearts of the Amakhosi faithful, headed a Dolly corner inches wide, with Arubi rooted to the spot and Christian Saile was also unlucky to see his acrobatic effort fly over the crossbar.
Mdu Shabalala, Solomons and Maart all had half-chances and it was only through some last-ditch defending from, in particular, Tshepo Gumede, that Chiefs didn’t emerge from the match with three points instead of one.
The point leaves Chiefs in 4th place on the log with 41 points, two points adrift of Orlando Pirates and Supersport United, while Marumo Gallants move off the bottom of the standings to 15th, with 24 points.
A visibly irritated coach Arthur Zwane felt his team allowed two points to slip away against a team that was there for the taking.
“I think we started very well,” he said after the game. “We scored too early and then , how do I say this, the attitude must change.”
“We had the opportunity to bury them,” he continued,
“After scoring the first goal we had about another four chances. We should have taken them; we did not, and then we went and conceded a bad goal through a lapse of concentration.”
“These missed chances and bad mistakes are what costs us. The only team that can beat Kaizer Chiefs is Kaizer Chiefs, but we still have a lot to play for this season and we’ll keep on going right until the last game,” he concluded.
Next up is the all-important Nedbank Cup quarterfinal against Royal AM next Sunday, 16 April at Chatsworth stadium in Durban.
The next league encounter is against Sekhukhune United on 23 April.
Chiefs XI: Petersen (1); Hlanti (23), Dove (2), Ngezana (30), Solomons (18), Zwane (37), Maart (8), Shabalala (42)(Matlou (22) 70’), Dolly © (10) (Mashiane (19) 70’), Du Preez (9), Basomboli (21)
Subs: Khune (32); Nj Ngcobo (27), Kwinika (4), Sithebe (6), Mahlatsi (5), Sekgota (14), Bimenyimana (28)
Coach: Arthur Zwane
Gallants: Arubi (36); Mvelase (24), Mabotja (5), Gumede (29), Nkili (2), Mohomi (17), Nku (7) (Makudubela (32) 61’)Chivaviro (8) (Nkosi (27) 90’), Ngema (10), Otladisa (11)(Pheko (34) 61’), Koapeng (14) (Cheick (6) 78’)
Subs: Watenga (16); Thangwane (22), Maraisane (31),Kumalo (30)
Coach: Selaotse Mosala