Chiefs sign off with victory

Kaizer Chiefs laboured hard to finish second on the Castle Premier League table with a 1-0 victory against Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium on Saturday.

For Pirates the game was merely a formality unlike Chiefs who had to win at all costs to secure a second-place finish.

Pirates coach Gordon Igesund seemed rather relaxed and not particularly bothered despite trailing by one goal. His job was long completed when he led Pirates to their first championship in seven years two weeks ago.

But Ertugral looked unsettled and continuously urged his charges to keep their heads up.

Jabu Pule was at his best as he propelled Amakhosi to a second place finish. The former under-23 star, who has recently captured headlines for all the wrong reasons, got a man of the match prize for his contribution in the Chiefs victory and a big hug from his coach Ertugral.

Defender Nhlanhla Kubeka fancied a scoring chance in the 20th minute with a thunderous shot but Pirates keeper Grant Johnson not to be beaten on this occasion.

It was Arthur Zwane’s corner, which produced Amakhosi’s opening goal with industrious midfielder Thabo Mooki slotting the ball on 28 minutes. Zwane later made way for former under-23 striker Daniel Matsau in the 45th minute.

The game was played in memory of the 43 supporters who died in the Ellis Park stadium stampede in April. It was also a farewell to striker Nomvete who will pack his bags to try his luck in Italy with Udinese. The Glamour Boys were also unveiling their new playing kit following a five-year sponsorship from Nike.

Jerry Sikhosana has always been regarded as the nemesis for Chiefs keeper Brian Baloyi but on this particular evening, “Legs of Thunder” seemed out of touch and was later replaced by Joseph Makhanya on 53 minutes.

Chiefs took the game so serious and were not ready to sit back and defend their 1-0 lead. Robert Nauseb hit upright on 65 minutes but Pule could not finish the rebound with Bhele doing the spadework.

Warren Lewis, who replaced Innocent Chikoya on 64 minutes, was lucky to escape punishment following his boots and all tackle on Nomvete on 72 minute.

Chiefs coach Muhsin Ertugral almost raced into the field to deal with Lewis but the fourth official acted in time to stop to short-fused coach.

But Tomas Inguane was not as lucky when he got a yellow card for a similar challenge on Pule on 78 minutes.

Nomvete beat an offside trap on 81 minutes but Johnson acted quickly to block his shot and Marco Mthembu tried unsuccessfully to direct the rebound shot into the net.

Gary Goldstone made a comeback for Chiefs after months in the treatment room but the tall defender appeared to be in short of match fitness and was later replaced by youth development graduate Gerald Sibeko on 85 minutes.

Pirates had nothing to lose except for pride and gave Chiefs a good run for their money. Vilakazi’s long-range shot was well-captured by Baloyi as Chiefs hang on to win the match and move to second place on the log.

The Chiefs victory completed a double blow for Sundowns who had earlier lost the Bob Save Super Bowl to Santos and with this result they dropped down to third on the log.

Teams:

Kaizer Chiefs: 16-Brian Baloyi, 31-Cyril Nzama, 5-Patrick Mabedi, 29-Gary Goldstone (Gerald Sibeko 85th), 25-Marco Mthembu, 6-Nhlanhla Kubeka, 26-Robert Nauseb, 12-Thabo Mooki, 11-Jabu Pule, 18-Arthur Zwane (Daniel Matsau 45), 23-Siyabonga Nomvete.

Orlando Pirates: 30-Grant Johnson, 6-Willem Jackson, 3-Papi Khomane (Carlos Baute 45th), 4-Innocent Chikoya (Warren Lewis 64th), 17-Thabang Lebese, 9-Pollen Ndlanya, 29-Dennis Lota, 19-Rodney Petlele, 5-Benedict Vilakazi, 31-Jerry Sikhosana (Joseph Makhanya 53rd).