18 September 2018
Free State Stars 0
Kaizer Chiefs (2) 2 (Páez 25’, Zulu 34’)
First-half goals from Gustavo Páez and Philani Zulu helped Kaizer Chiefs to a 2-0 victory over Free State Stars in an Absa Premiership game at Bethlehem’s Goble Park on Tuesday night. It was the second win in a row after another excellent performance.
Coach Giovanni Solinas decided to make wholesale changes to Chiefs’ line-up compared to the side that started against Cape Town City FC on Saturday. It was done to give a few players a rest, because there will be another tough league fixture against AmaZulu FC on Saturday.
Kgotso Moleko, Mario Booysen, Godfrey Walusimbi, Hendrick Ekstein, George Maluleka, Philani Zulu and Gustavo Páez all came into the starting XI, while only Itumeleng Khune, Siyanonga Ngezana, Willard Katsande and Khama Billiat began again.
Booysen made his Chiefs debut, playing on the left side of the central defence and was partnered by Siyabonga Ngezana.
The home side started as the slightly better team with especially Yusuf Jappie proving to be a nuisance for the Amakhosi defence.
Stars’ positive attitude to the game, however, didn’t result in any real chances with the exception of the moment that Jappie put the ball into the box from the left. Itumeleng Khune came out of the goal, but couldn’t get to the ball. Luckily, the Stars striker headed the ball wide.
Bit by bit Chiefs got into the game. Godfrey Walusimbi did well at left-back position, Billiat was again in fine form, while Páez was lively up-front.
And it was the Venezuelan striker who netted the 1-0 in the 25th minute. Páez passed the ball to Billiat after which Páez sprinted deep, got the ball (from the Zimbabwean) and put the ball with his left foot over the goalkeeper, who had come off his line, into the back of the net.
It was Páez’s first goal of the season, while it was already Billiat’s fourth assist in all competitions.
Stars tried to immediately come back into the game, but couldn’t get the ball past Khune.
It was an entertaining match to watch with both sides willing to go forward and playing attacking football.
Chiefs got their second goal in the 34th minute. Ekstein put the ball from the right into the box. Zulu picked up the ball at the edge of the box, entered and delivered a cannonball that flew into the short corner past the goalkeeper, 2-0.
It was Zulu’s second goal in as many matches.
Stars were maybe a bit unlucky not to get a goal themselves, but it was otherwise a great first half for the Glamour Boys.
The home side tried to press early in the second half.
Amakhosi, meanwhile, continued to play well with George Maluleka bringing stability to the midfield in his first game of the season after having recovered from injury. Ekstein was another who had a good performance in his second league start of the season.
There were chances for both teams in the second half to score, but nothing too threatening.
There was, however, the debut of new signing Dax Andrianarimanana from Madagacar. The attacking midfielder came on for Katsande in the 89th minute.
Chiefs did outstanding, attacking with pace and lots of movement off-the-ball, which bodes well for the rest of the season.
Key moment in the match:
That must have been the crucial goal from Gustavo Páez, which gave the side the confidence that this was very much a winnable game.
Most Valuable Player (MVP):
Khama Billiat showed again what a great signing he is, while Mario Booysen convincingly led the Kaizer Chiefs defence on his debut. George ‘Mido’ Maluleka delivered a brilliant performance in his comeback game after having been out with injury. In the end, it was ‘Mido’ who was handed the Absa Premiership Man of the Match.
What it means:
It means that Kaizer Chiefs won their second Absa Premiership match in a row, both played on the road, and have now moved up to third spot on the log table with ten points from seven games.
Kaizer Chiefs 11: Khune; Moleko, Ngezana, Booysen, Walusimbi; Ekstein, Katsande (Andrianarimanana 89’), Maluleka, Zulu; Páez (Moon 71’), Billiat (Mahlasela 81’)
Subs not used: Vries, Hadebe, Jayiya, Malope
Free State Stars 11: Sangare; Mobbi, Keita (Mahamutsa 42’), Tema, Phungwayo; Jappie, Mahaula, Masehe, Dlamini; Gandze (Mokhuoane 46’), Moseamedi (Rodgers 60’)
Subs not used: Kwizera, Bhengu, Maruping, Twala
Kaizer Chiefs will host AmaZulu FC in an Absa Premiership encounter at FNB Stadium on Saturday evening, 22 September (kick-off is at 18:00).