Kaizer Chiefs overcame a spirited Highlands Park, winning 1-0 in an Absa Premiership match at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium. The winner was scored by Lorenzo Gordinho in the first half.
Coach Steve Komphela had to make two changes to the side that started the last two league matches, winning both. George Masilela sustained a calf strain during Friday’s pre-match training and was replaced by Lucky Baloyi, while Daniel Cardoso came in for the suspended Erick Mathoho.
There was, as usual in Durban, a nice vibe in the stadium with the supporters being Chiefs’ 13th man.
Highlands Park are not in a good position on the league table and they are desperately in need of some points. To be fair, they didn’t travel to Durban to just sit back and defend, moving forward in numbers whenever having the opportunity.
Joseph Molangoane again looked lively and Bernard Parker was full of running up-front, being a nuisance for the Highland’s defence.
‘Die Hond’ Parker even had a chance to open the scoreline, but he was unlucky to kick the ball past the wrong side of the goalpost.
The longer the first half went on the more the pressure started to build on the Highlands Park defence.
Eventually, the first goal was scored in the 39th minute. Siphiwe Tshabalala took a corner kick from the left side of the field. The outswinger reached Ramahlwe Mphahlele in the box. The left-back headed the ball on to Lorenzo Gordinho, who easily headed the ball past the visitor’s goalkeeper.
It was Gordinho’s fourth league goal this season, a remarkable achievement for a defender and the season is far from finished as yet.
The visitor’s coach, Gordon Igesund, was visibly not happy with his side’s performance, especially towards the end of the first half, and decided to ring the changes at the break. The old fox Surprise Moriri was brought on for the disappointing Lindokhuhle Mbatha.
However, it was Amakhosi, like in the first half supported by an enthusiastic crowd, that had the better play during the second half.
Chiefs also had again, as for the other home games in Durban, arranged exclusively the KC Couch for the winner of the ‘KC Couch’ competition. They were sitting a few metres from the touchline and the three were visibly enjoying their prime spot so close to the action.
Amakhosi went looking for the second goal, but it just didn’t want to fall, despite creating a few fine chances.
The home side dominated the midfield, thanks to good performances in the centre, with Baloyi and Willard Katsande both doing an excellent job.
Towards the end of the game there was loud applause when George Lebese was brought on. The skilful winger injured his back towards the end of last year and this was his comeback game after being declared fully fit again.
Sadly enough, Amakhosi couldn’t add another, which would have been more than deserved.
‘Rama’ Mphahlele was selected as the Man of the Match for another fine performance. His assist for Gordinho’s goal was already his third in the league this season.
Chiefs are now leading the log table, having collected 33 points from 18 games. Bidvest Wits, who play in the CAF Champions League this weekend, and Cape Town City, who later tonight host Orlando Pirates, are on 31 points.
The Glamour Boys next travel to Cape Town to face Ajax Cape Town at Athlone Stadium on Saturday, 25 February (kick-off is at 20:15).
Kaizer Chiefs 1 (Gordinho 39’)
Highlands Park 0
Kaizer Chiefs: Khune; Mphahlele, Cardoso, Gordinho, Masilela; Molangoane (Lebese 84’), Katsande, Baloyi, Tshabalala, Chirambadare (Ekstein 58’); Parker (Páez 70’)
Highlands Park: Kapini; Nhlapho, Oluwafeni, Katjiukua, Ngalo; Shalulile (Sitayitayi 74’), Mvala, Cale (Zwane 59’); Koena, Mbatha (Moriri 46’), Mashumaba