Chiefs record well-earned victory against Maritzburg

Maritzburg United    (0) 0

Kaizer Chiefs               (0) 1 (26. Parker 63’)

A sublime diving header from Bernard Parker in the 63rd minute was enough to give Kaizer Chiefs victory and three hard-earned points on the road against Maritzburg United in the DStv Premiership tonight.

A power failure saw kickoff delayed by 90 minutes, but that did not stop Chiefs from surging past Maritzburg with a 1-0 win at the Harry Gwala Stadium, as Amakhosi recorded their fourth win in five league games.

When the game did eventually kick off at 19h00 Chiefs came up with the first opportunity just two minutes in, as Keagan Dolly fed the ball short to Khama Billiat off a corner from the left, the Zimbabwean turning the ball towards goal where Njabulo Ngcobo lunged at the ball heading it downwards, but agonisingly just over the crossbar from close range.

Despite the delay, the game was played at a ferocious pace, with both teams pressing hard for the opening goal. Maritzburg themselves created some early pressure inside the opening 15 minutes, as Bongokuhle Hlongwane headed wide when connecting with a cross from the right.

A few minutes later Daniel Akpeyi came off his line to tip away a dangerous-looking corner by former Chiefs left-back Keegan Ritchie from the right.

As the halfway point of the first half approached Hlongwane stormed up the left-wing and managed to cut into the Chiefs 18 yard area, but his eventual attempt at goal lacked power and the ball rolled towards Akpeyi, who was able to collect it easily.

Chiefs were proving a handful from set-pieces and throw-ins and just past the half hour mark a long raking throw-in from the left by Reeve Frosler was flicked backwards by Mulomowandau Mathoho, who got to the ball ahead of Bulelani Ndengane, but Chiefs were denied by quick thinking from Phumlani Ntshangase who tracked back and headed clear.

A first half that produced much end to end action ended 0-0.

The second half began with more physicality than the first half, with both teams not holding back in the tackles and one such phase of play in the 50th minute saw Bernard Parker fouled. Ngcobo then went in the book for a studs-up challenge to avenge the tackle on his skipper – and was given a caution.

After sustained pressure on the Maritzburg goal Chiefs finally got their reward in the 63rd minute, when Dolly rolled the ball from a corner to Billiat who floated a ball on his weaker right foot over the Maritzburg defence. As the ball seemed to elude everyone Bernard Parker leapt acrobatically through the air and powered his header past Marcel Engelhardt and into the roof of the net, giving Chiefs the lead as he scored his third league goal of the season.

Reeve Frosler would drive the ball wide of goal after creating an opportunity for himself in the 68th minute, after beginning a run in his own half. Maritzburg substitute Rowan Human would also miss a good chance in the 75th minute, as he blasted the ball wide from a tight angle on the right. Human would again get an attempt on target after driving the ball towards goal from just outside the Chiefs 18 yard area, which had Akpeyi scurrying to his right to push the ball away with one hand for a corner.

Human continued to prove effective after his introduction as a substitute and he had another go at goal from distance in the 83rd minute, but once more Akpeyi managed to come out trumps and made the save, going down to collect the ball.

Four minutes from time Leonardo Castro appeared as a substitute for Chiefs, replacing Dolly as he made a return to action after a lengthy lay-off due to injury. His last appearance came on the 19th June in the first leg of last season’s CAF Champions League Semi-final against Wydad Casablanca.

Chiefs held on for the victory to move up to sixth place in the standings, going above rivals Orlando Pirates and their next opponents Amazulu, who they will face in a league game on Wednesday, with Chiefs now having collected 12 of the last 15 points on offer.

Fact of the game – Kaizer Chiefs ends a four-game winless run in league games against Maritzburg United, with their first league win over them since 9th March 2019. This win also means that Chiefs are undefeated away from home in their last 7 league games against Maritzburg (W3 D4). This was Chiefs first away league win against Maritzburg since a 2-0 win on 20th September 2017. Their previous three visits all ended in draws.

Number of the game 1 – As Chiefs coach this was Stuart Baxter’s first away league win against Maritzburg. In his first spell as Chiefs coach between 2012 and 2015 he failed to defeat Maritzburg in three league games on the road (D2 L1).

MVP – Chiefs were strong in midfield and were dangerous from set pieces Dolly and Billiat used their experience to ensure Chiefs were always effective from these situations. Njabulo Ngcobo was the man of the match and put in a good night’s work and he was unfortunate not to have got a goal. Parker showed good instinct in taking his chance to win the points for Chiefs, while Akpeyi made numerous telling saves to keep his goal intact.

What’s Next – Chiefs will play host to AmaZulu in their next league game on the 24th November with kick off at 17h30.

Line Ups:

Maritzburg: 31. M. Engelhardt, 4. N. Allie, 27. A. Ndengane, 16. K. Ritchie, 13. R. Zumah ( L. Hlongwane 57’), 15. P. Ntshangase, 8. Z. Kewuti, 17. D. Claasen, 6. T. Graham ( L. Skelm 73’), 21. B. Hlongwane, 11. A. Soukouna (Human 73’).

 

Subs Not Used: 1. B. Petersen, 22. B. Theron, 5. C. Daniels, 24. L. Bhengu,.

 

Cautions: 6. T. Graham 55’

 

Coach: Ernst Middendorp

 

Chiefs: 43. D. Akpeyi, 39. R. Frosler, 27. Nj Ngcobo, 3. E. Mathoho, 4. D. Cardoso, 2. R. Mphahlele,        17. C. Alexander (Agay 83’), 24. P. Nange (Sekgota 75’) , 25. B. Parker, 10. K. Dolly (Castro 86’), 11. K. Billiat.

 

Subs Not Used: 1. B. Petersen, 29. T. Dube, 12. Nk Ngcobo, 33. S. Radebe, 19. H. Mashiane, 7. L. Kambole.

 

Cautions: 24. P. Nange 5’, 27. Nj Ngcobo 50’

 

Coach: Stuart Baxter