Arrows hold Chiefs to a draw
Thanduyise Khuboni on top of Mandla Masango (Gallo Images)
Durban - Kaizer Chiefs lost ground in the Absa Premiership title race after a goalless draw against Golden Arrows at the Moses Mabhida Stadium here on Wednesday.
In a match of contrasting halves, both sides spurned several chances in the opening period, before almost going to sleep in the second 45 minutes which was overshadowed with what appeared to be a serious head injury to visiting goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.
The Amakhosi skipper clashed heads with Arrows striker Thamsanqa Gabuza and had to be replaced by Arthur Bartman, before both sides played to a 0-0 scoreline, which left the Soweto club in fourth place and the home side in 12th.
In a spectacular start to the game, Chiefs were twice denied by Nkosi Gumede, while Khune also made two saves early on.
After four minutes, George Lebese belted a loose ball from just outside the box towards the left corner where a diving Gumede scrambled the ball away for a corner.
From the ensuing set-piece, Dominic Isaacs headed powerfully, but straight at the feet of the Arrows goalkeeper.
The Umlazi club responded with two chances of their own three minutes later.
First Dillon Sheppard crossed expertly from the left, but Philani Shange’s strike was closed down quickly by Khune.
Khune was again on when he threw himself to his left to keep out a Siyabonga Nkosi strike from 25-yards out that was curling towards the top corner.
The intense start continued with Lehlohonolo Majoro glancing a backward header just wide from an acute angle.
Muhsin Ertugral’s men should have taken the lead midway through the half when Sheppard floated in a free-kick perfectly from the right, but Musa Bilankulu somehow headed wide from six-yards out.
On the half-hour mark, Khune almost embarrassed his opposite number with a long clearance that bounced awkwardly and needed to be cleared for a corner, while Gumede dived to his left to tip away Masango’s rifled 20-yard effort.
That brought an end to an enthralling first half and after the restart, Abafana Bes'thende came closest to scoring when Sheppard cut through the middle and played Collins Mbesuma in, but the Zambian’s strike bounced off the upright.
Chiefs almost capitalised on an error from the Arrows defence when Masango was clean through, but saw his shot blocked by Gumede, before Nale shot wide.
Play was held up for over eight minutes after a clash of heads between Khune and substitute Gabuza.
Majoro came closest in normal time with a rising shot from 25 yards out.
There were 11 minutes added at the end after the Khune injury, with Sthembiso Ngcobo heading wide at the back post from a pin-point Masango cross after two of them had past.
Substitute Katlego Mashego almost won it for Arrows when his placed shot towards the top corner was tipped over for a corner kick as the match ended goalless.