8 January 2020
Kaizer Chiefs (1) 3 (Mathoho 27’, Castro 57’, 69’)
Highlands Park (0) 0
Kaizer Chiefs celebrated turning 50 years old by putting ice on the cake with an emphatic 3-0 win over Highlands Park at FNB Stadium in front of a huge crowd who had come to celebrate the club reaching a half century, Mulomowandau Mathoho opened the scoring for Chiefs with a superbly executed overhead kick. While a brace in the second half from Leonardo Castro, a poacher’s finish in the 57th minute and a well-timed header in the 69th saw Chiefs through to victory, as the Amakhosi pulled away at the top of the table.
Seven minutes into the game, Tendai Ndoro was fed into space on the right side of the Chiefs 18-yard area, he turned and unleashed a shot goal-wards which Daniel Akpeyi blocked. A few minutes on Chiefs’ Lazalous Kambole and Sello Motsepe of Highlands Park both needed bandaging after a clash of heads as they both attacked an aerial ball.
The injury picked up in the clash eventually took its toll on Kambole as he was unable to continue and was replaced in the 22nd minute by Dumsani Zuma.
Chiefs were thrilling the large crowd in attendance in their sleek black 50th anniversary commemorative kit and had the stadium on its feet when they took the lead in the 27th minute. Lebogang Manyama floated in a free kick from the right which Mathoho rose up and headed against the cross bar.
As the ball rebounded Mathoho was alert as he executed a spectacular over- head kick which Highlands goalkeeper Marlon Heugh was unable to control. He somehow bundled the ball over the line – handing Chiefs the lead and Mathoho his third goal of the season. This means that he has managed to score in both league encounters this season against Highlands Park.
In the 41st minute, after some initial pressure from Zuma, Hassan Banda attempted a back pass which fell into the path of Leonardo Castro who got the ball and raced towards goal. As he attempted to get the ball over Heugh the Highlands keeper stuck out a hand and blocked the ball. With the keeper atoning for his earlier mishap.
Chiefs led 1-0 at the break.
Chiefs doubled their advantage in the 57th minute, after some fine work from Kearyn Baccus down the right flank as he left his marker trailing. He sent in a beautifully weighted ball along the ground which found Castro inside the Highlands six- yard area. He struck the ball goal wards once Heugh managed to get a hand on the ball, but the power of the shot took it beyond the line as Chiefs went 2-0 up.
Chiefs went 3-0 up in the 69th minute after a nicely floated corner from the right by George Maluleka saw Castro rise up to meet the ball and head it home, with the goal at his mercy after Highlands goalkeeper Heugh had come off his line to clear the ball. He was unable to do so, and Castro got in ahead of him to score his 5thleague goal in his ninth league appearance of the campaign.
During added time at the end of the second half, Daniel Akpeyi was tested for the first time after Mathoho had let the ball run, expecting the keeper to pick up the loose ball. Instead, the fell for Peter Shalulile who attempted to beat Akpeyi at his near post but instead the Chiefs keeper stood his ground to make the block.
The win sees Chiefs extend their gap over Mamelodi Sundowns at the top of the league to six points. Chiefs completed a league double for the season against Highlands with this victory.
Most Valuable Player:
The pressure was on Chiefs to win after failing to win their last two games and they delivered with a good all-round performance, Mathoho displayed great athleticism in scoring Chiefs first goal. While Castro named the official Absa Premiership Man of the Match, showed how deadly he can be in front of goal with his two well taken goals.
Fact of the match:
It was the second time as a Chiefs player that Mathoho had managed to score home and away in the same season against the same team. He also scored in both league meetings against Polokwane City in 2015/16 for Amakhosi
Number of the match 1462:
This was Kaizer Chiefs 1462nd official league game since the club was founded in 1970, the clubs first league game was on 17th April 1971 an 11-1 home win over African Wanderers.
What it means:
With this win Chiefs now go six points clear at the top of the table over Mamelodi Sundowns and they begin the third quarter of the Absa Premiership with a win. It also sees Chiefs win their fifth successive home league game, the first time since the 2013/14 season that the Amakhosi have achieved such a feat.
Chiefs XI: Akpeyi; Moleko (Mphahlele 65’), Mathoho, Cardoso, Ntiya-Ntiya; Katsande, captain, Maluleka. Baccus (Parker 83’), Manyama; Castro, Kambole (Zuma 22’)
Subs not used: Khune; Ngezana, Sasman, Mashiane
Highlands XI: Heugh; Mokwena, Munyai, Motsepe, Banda (Mbatha 76’); Mahlangu, Msimango, Ndoro (Mkhabela 46’), Shalulile; Mvala, Ramagalela (Mogaila 72’)
Subs not used: Peter; Letsholonyane, Mbhele, Motlafi
Chiefs are back at FNB Stadium on Sunday afternoon (12th January) to face Cape Town City, where victory could see them go nine points clear at the top of the Absa Premiership table. Kick-off on Sunday is at 15:30