1 April 2017
Kaizer Chiefs (1) 2 (Parker 34’, Soumahoro, og 78’)
Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 1 (Billiat 26’)
The Absa Premiership title race was thrown wide open thanks to Kaizer Chiefs’ 2-1 win over Mamelodi Sundowns.
It was an absorbing game in which the best team collected the three points.
Chiefs struggled a little bit early on to come out of the block, but when they got going after about ten minutes of play, they did control the first half.
Bernard Parker got two excellent chances to open the score, but first his shot just went past the wrong side of the post and then his fine header was well stopped by the Sundowns goalkeeper.
‘Die Hond’ played well and was dangerous whenever getting into the opponent’s box. Others shining in the Gold and Black jersey were Siphiwe Tshabalala and Willard Katsande.
The game’s opening goal fell, against the run of play, for Sundowns in the 26th minute. A shot from Khama Billiat was deflected via Lorenzo Gordinho past goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.
Chiefs, however, took the set-back on the chin and fought back to net the well-deserved equalizer in the 34th minute. Edmore Chirambadare provided a low cross from the right. The ball landed at Parker’s feet, who knew how to finish, 1-1.
There was a fabulous vibe at the FNB Stadium with about 50 000 spectators in attendance. The Chiefs supporters were by far in the majority and they were singing, dancing and blowing their vuvuzelas throughout the 90 minutes.
The enthralling battle continued in the second half with both sides looking for the win.
It was again Parker that caused danger to the Sundowns defence whenever in possession of the ball. He nearly added another goal in the 52nd minute when ‘Die Hond’ curled a ball beautifully into the top corner, but the Brazilians keeper tipped the ball over the sidebar to corner. Surprisingly, the referee decided not to give the corner kick.
Coach Steve Komphela tried to up the pressure on the opponent’s defence by bringing on George Lebese for Edmore Chirambadare.
It resulted in the match-winner in the 78th minute. Another substitute, Gustavo Páez, put strong pressure on Sundowns defender Bangaly Soumahoro, who passed back to his goalkeeper with the ball landing in his own goal.
The visitors tried to come back in the last part of the match. Their best chance came in injury time when Hlompho Kekana’s free-kick looked set to go into goal, but Itumeleng Khune saved brilliantly.
The Glamour Boys were the better team on the day.
Key moment in the match:
The key moment didn’t come in the match, but came at Thursday’s press conference. Pitso Mosimane named Mamelodi Sundowns “the underdogs” in the clash against Kaizer Chiefs. It was something that didn’t sit well with our coach Steve Komphela, as how can the African Champions League winners call themselves underdogs in any game… That comment must have left an impression on the Glamour Boys too, as they went all-out to beat the ‘underdogs’.
Most Valuable Player (MVP):
Bernard Parker had a brilliant performance. ‘Die Hond’ was working hard, making challenging runs for his defenders to follow and he looked threatening whenever roving around in the Mamelodi Sundowns box. Parker scored the crucial equalizer, squeezing the ball brilliantly into the short corner. It was his fifth league goal this season.
What it means:
The win means that Kaizer Chiefs are now in second position on the Absa Premiership log with 39 points from 22 games. We are on equal points with Cape Town City, but have a better goal difference. Sundowns are in fifth spot with 34 points from 18 matches. BidVest Wits are on top of the log, having collected 41 points after having played 20 games. The Clever Boys beat Platinum Stars on Saturday.
Kaizer Chiefs 11: Khune; Mphahlele, Mathoho, Gordinho, Masilela (Cardoso 85’); Molangoane, Katsande, Maluleka, Chirambadare (Lebese 60’); Tshabalala, Parker (Páez 76’)
Subs: Bvuma, Cardoso, Khumalo, Lebese, Baloyi, Twala, Páez
Mamelodi Sundowns 11: Mweene; Morena, Soumahoro, Nascimento, Hachi (Langerman 64’); Laffor (Zakri 70’), Kekana, Mabunda (Castro 84’), Zwane; Billiat, Tau
Subs: Sandilands, Ngcongca, Zakri, Modise, Nthethe, Langerman, Castro
Next Match: Next up for the Amakhosi is a Nedbank Cup Last 16 fixture against Acornbush. The Mpumalanga-based second division team will host our Glamour Boys at their 10 000-seater Kabokweni Stadium in Mbombela on Sunday, 9 April (kick-off at 15:00).