29 August 2018
Kaizer Chiefs (1) 2 (Billiat 37’, Malope 64’)
Bloemfontein Celtic (0) 2 (Masuku 76’, Mabena 79’)
Kaizer Chiefs and Bloemfontein Celtic played to a 2-2 draw in an Absa Premiership clash at FNB Stadium on Wednesday evening. Amakhosi got 2-0 up, thanks to goals from Khama Billiat and Khotso Malope before the visitors netted twice to equalise. Chiefs were the better side on the night and were unlucky not to have taken the three points.
Itumeleng Khune struggled with a bruised forearm and didn’t play. He was replaced by the young and talented goalkeeper Bruce Bvuma, who played two matches for Chiefs towards the end of the 2016/2017 season.
Willard Katsande took over the captaincy armband in the absence of Khune.
Another who got an opportunity to play was Khotso Malope, who got some game time last season. The young midfielder has looked sharp at training in recent weeks and coach Giovanni Solinas decided to give Malope a chance to show his form in a competitive match.
In contrast to Sunday’s MTN8 encounter against SuperSport United, this one didn’t start at a very high pace. However, that didn’t mean that it wasn’t competitive.
There was a nice edge to the match, which of course also had to do with the fact that Amakhosi’s coach for the last three seasons, Steve Komphela, was now sitting on the opponent’s bench.
Chiefs’ first chance came in the 13th minute when Leonardo Castro hit the outside of the post.
There was an excellent curled ball directed at goal from just outside the box by Khama Billiat, but the ball just swerved over the goal.
Siphehlele Ntshangase was spraying the ball around nicely from his central midfield role, with both wing-backs, Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya often joining in attack.
Ntshangase’s fierce shot in the 24th minute looked to go into the goal, but the Celtic goalkeeper just about managed to block the ball with his feet.
There was another attempt at goal from long range a few minutes later when Dumsani Zuma really put his foot under the ball, which eventually landed on the crossbar.
The Glamour Boys were playing well and were enthusiastically supported by the crowd, which was maybe not huge in numbers but still very vocal.
Chiefs finally got their well-deserved goal in the 37th minute. Ntshangase delivered a telling pass deep right through the middle, which landed at the feet of the sprinting Billiat. The Zimbabwean took the ball with him before placing it beautifully past the Celtic keeper, 1-0.
The home side continued to dominate in the second half with the defence having little to do. There was often some good combination play up-front with Zuma, Castro, Billiat and Malope all combining well.
The second goal was scored by Malope. The young midfielder received the ball after some brilliant work by Castro before passing deep. Malope nicely chipped the ball over Celtic goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb, 2-0. It was the first goal in the Kaizer Chiefs colours of the 24-year-old.
By then, Amakhosi looked to have the game completely under control. Well, until the 75th minute, because that’s when Celtic, basically out of nowhere, suddenly found the back of the net twice in the space of about three minutes. Menzi Masuku (76’) and Ndumiso Mabena (79’) found the back of the net for the visitors.
It was in the end a disappointing evening, above all because Chiefs dominated and fully deserve the three points. It wasn’t to be though.
Key moment in the match:
That must be the moment when Kaizer Chiefs netted the opening goal in the 37th minute thanks to Khama Billiat. Amakhosi already had a few good chances to score, but the ball just didn’t want to end in the back of net. Billiat’s goal gave the side the confidence that this game was winnable. Two surprise goals from Celtic, however, stopped that from happening though.
Most Valuable Player (MVP):
Khama Billiat was again a threat whenever in possession of the ball, while Siphelele Ntshangase was visibly enjoying his playmaker role from slightly deep in the midfield. Khotso Malope also delivered a fine performance, while Willard Katsande was his usual bustling self in the holding role in midfield.
What it means:
Kaizer Chiefs have now four points from five matches, moving up to 11th position on the Absa Premiership log.
Kaizer Chiefs 11: Bvuma; Mphahlele, Ngezana, Cardoso, Ntiya-Ntiya; Zuma, Katsande, Ntshangase, Malope (Jayiya 70’); Billiat, Castro
Subs not used: Petersen, Mathoho, Meyiwa, Zulu, Parker, Moon
Bloemfontein Celtic 11: Tignyemb; Rikhotso, Ndengane, Gordinho, Sam; Potsane (Masuku 49’), Mashikinya, Phalane, Dlamini (Letsoalo 71’); Mabena, Mabasa (Baloyi 52’)
Subs not used: Dambe, Pfumbidzai, De Jongh, Ndou
Kaizer Chiefs will play the second leg of the MTN8 semi-final on Saturday, 1 September, 1 August (kick-off is at 20:15). The first leg finished in a 2-2 draw.