12 December 2018
Kaizer Chiefs (0) 1 (Maluleka 64’)
SuperSport United 0
Kaizer Chiefs beat SuperSport United 1-0 in an entertaining Absa Premiership match at Nelspruit’s Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday evening. George Maluleka scored the winner in the 64th minute with a long range shot.
It was the first game for Ernst Middendorp, who is back in charge of Amakhosi. There were a few changes to the starting line-up, although some of them had to do with injuries of a few players (Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Mulomowandau Mathoho, Itumeleng Khune) and a suspension (Willard Katsande).
The start was promising with Chiefs going forward with intent. There were also some good combinations, which resulted in a few chances, but, among others, Leonardo Castro and Khama Billiat were unsuccessful in trying to find the back of the net.
George Maluleka did well in the absence of Katsande, anchoring the midfield. ‘Mido’ was handed the captain’s armband in the absence of Khune and Katsande.
Billiat and Castro worked hard up-front, often being a nuisance for SuperSport’s backline and Philani Zulu showed fine form on the left-flank.
SuperSport did, however, go more forward in the second phase of the first half, even getting a few opportunities to score, although Virgil Vries, who replaced Khune in goal, was never really threatened too much.
Chiefs looked determined and having found some new determination with the arrival of Middendorp and his assistant, Shaun Bartlett.
Both coaches, Middendorp and SuperSport’s Kaitano Tembo, decided to ring some changes at the start of the second half. The German coach brought in Kabelo Mahlasela for Siphelele Ntshangase, while Tembo took out Fagrie Lakay for Thuso Phala, who was between 2007 and 2009 on the books of Amakhosi.
Chiefs nearly got a goal barely four minutes into the second half, when Billiat’s shot was kept out of goal by Ronwen Williams, making a fine save diving to his right.
The German coach made another substitution in the 61st minute, bringing on Bernard Parker for Castro.
The goal finally arrived three minutes later, when Mahlasela, who delivered a fine performance after coming on, passed the ball to his side, finding Maluleka. ‘Mido’ got the ball outside the box and hit the ball with a mixture of power and direction. The ball flew past SuperSport goalkeeper Williams in the back of the net. It was a great goal, 1-0.
It was an entertaining game with a good crowd of about 15 000, which cared for a lively atmosphere at the Mbombela Stadium.
Matsatsantsa tried to get back into the game, even though Chiefs got the better opportunities to score.
It was overall a fine performance of the Glamour Boys and a well-deserved win.
Key moment in the match:
That was George Maluleka’s brilliant goal from long range. It must have come as a huge relief to Ernst Middendorp, as numerous previous chances failed to find the back of the net. But the wait was worthwhile, as Mido scored a stunner.
Most Valuable Player (MVP):
George Maluleka was excellent as the defensive midfielder, while others having fine performances were Khama Billiat and Kgotso Moleko, who looked composed at right-back in the absence of the injured Ramahlwe Mphahlele. Daniel Cardoso was another doing well, keeping it tight together with Mario Booysen in the centre of defence. In the end, it was Maluleka who was handed the Man of the Match award, deservedly so.
What it means:
Kaizer Chiefs are on 21 points from 15 games, moving up to fifth position on the Absa Premiership log.
Kaizer Chiefs 11: Vries; Moleko, Cardoso, Booysen, Walusimbi; Manyama, Ntshangase (Mahlasela 46’), Maluleka, Zulu (Zuma 95’); Billiat, Castro (Parker 61’)
Subs not used: Bvuma, Hadebe, Ngezana, Andrianarimanana
SuperSport United 11: Williams; Kekana, Gould, Daniels, Bhasera; Rusike, Mokoena (Lungu 78’), Ntshangase, Modiba; Mbule (Keene 61’), Lakay (Phala 46’)
Subs not used: Pule, Letsholonyane, Fleurs, Mahlatsi
Kaizer Chiefs will host Madagascar’s Elgeco Plus in the first leg of the CAF Confederation Cup first round at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday, 15 December 2018. Kick-off is at 20:15.