4 May 2019
Kaizer Chiefs (0) 1 (Cardoso, pen 65’)
Free State Stars (0) 1 (Hlubi 53’)
Daniel Cardoso’s excellently taken penalty in the 65th minute helped Kaizer Chiefs to a point against Free State Stars in an Absa Premiership on Saturday afternoon. The encounter took place at Nelspruit’s Mbombela Stadium. The visitors took the lead in the 53rd minute, before Amakhosi’s equaliser 12 minutes later.
Coach Ernst Middendorp made five changes to the starting XI in comparison with last Saturday’s game against Bloemfontein Celtic, with Khama Billiat, Kgotso Moleko, Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya, Dax Andrianarimanana and Leonardo Castro coming in.
Stars are fighting a relegation battle and desperately needed the three points. That’s why they started off in a very offensive mood trying to put early pressure on the home side.
Chiefs, however, kept it tight at the back, not giving away any real goalscoring opportunities to the Bethlehem-based opponent.
The defence was again well commanded by Daniel Cardoso, who also read the play early which often helped him intercepting the ball before it could reach a Stars attacker.
Another who had a good performance was Kabelo Mahlasela, who looked threatening whenever in possession of the ball, making some good off-the-ball runs as well.
Dax Andrianarimanana was convincing again in central midfield, partnering hard man Willard Katsande.
The more the game went on, the more the Glamour Boys took charge of the match.
The first shot on target in the clash only arrived in the 37th minute when Ntiya-Ntiya’s long range shot was blocked from ending into the back of the net by the Stars goalkeeper.
A few minutes later, Sibusiso Hlubi hit a ferocious shot from outside the box at goal. The ball seemed to go into the top corner, but goalkeeper Bruce Bvuma made an acrobatic and brilliant save to keep the ball out of the net.
It was still goalless at half-time.
Chiefs played better in the second half, getting a chance to open the score in the 51st minute. Billiat delivered a telling cross from the right into the box to Castro, who put the ball over the crossbar.
There was an unfortunate mistake from Ramahlwe Mphahlele two minutes later – passing the ball back to goalkeeper Bvuma without the right speed. Bvuma came out of the goal, but he arrived too late to get to the ball. Accordingly, the ball bounced in front of Stars’ Hlubi who finished from close range, 0-1.
That’s when coach Middendorp decided to make two substitutions, bringing on Lebogang Manyama for Mahlasela (55th minute) and George Maluleka for Katsande (57’).
Castro was brought down in the box in the 61st minute, which resulted in a penalty. The Colombian got injured in the process and by the time he was standing again, the Stars players had left the field in protest against the penalty. But it was a clear penalty and the referee didn’t change his mind.
Cardoso, meanwhile, kept his cool while waiting to take the spot kick and coolly finished when he was finally allowed to take it in the 65th minute, 1-all.
There was a further substitution in the 76th minute, with Dumsani Zuma replacing Castro.
It was an open game towards the end with both sides trying to get the winner.
However, there were no more goals and the match finished therefore in a 1-all draw.
Key moment in the match:
Bruce Bvuma’s magnificent save in the first half, keeping the ball out of the goal from a free-kick taken from long range when it looked set to fly into the top corner. Bvuma’s stunning reaction not only helped Kaizer Chiefs to not concede a goal at that stage, but it was also a save for the history books, as it was pure class.
Most Valuable Player (MVP):
Kabelo Mahlasela, Dax Andrianarimanana, Khama Billiat and Daniel Cardoso all did well, while Bernard Parker continued his rich form of late. It was also good to see Lebogang Manyama back in action after a relatively long lay-off due to injury. The midfielder made some good moves, with and without the ball, after coming on as a substitute. Free State Stars’ Paulus Masehe was selected as the Absa Premiership Man of the Match.
What it means:
It means that Kaizer Chiefs are still in seventh position on the Absa Premiership log, with 39 points from 29 matches.
Kaizer Chiefs 11: Bvuma; Mphahlele, Moleko, Cardoso, Ntiya-Ntiya; Mahlasela (Manyama 55’), Katsande (Maluleka 57’), Andrianarimanana, Billiat; Parker, Castro (Zuma 76’)
Subs not used: Akpeyi, Mathoho, Frosler, Hadebe
Free State Stars 11: Sangare; Mobbie, Mathumo, Mbhele, Phungwayo; Makhaula, Masehe, Mokhuoane; Hlubi, Tchilimbou, Jappie (Rodgers 85’)
Subs not used: Mbambo, Mahamutsa, Katsvairo, Kizza, Dlamini, Khabane
Kaizer Chiefs will face Chippa United in the last Absa Premiership fixture this season at Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday, 11 May. Kick-off is at 15:00.