Chiefs extend lead at the top
Matthew Rusike (Backpage)
Johannesburg - A goal in either half from Matthew Rusike and Bernard Parker
handed Kaizer Chiefs a 2-0 win over AmaZulu in a Premiership clash at the FNB Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Having taken a 1-0 half-time lead, Parker's 82nd minute goal sealed the result for Chiefs, in the teams' last league fixture of the year, as the Premiership takes a break ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations in January next year.
The victory guarantees that Stuart Baxter's side end the year at the top of the table, four points clear of Orlando Pirates, who take on Golden Arrows on Wednesday night.
VIDEO: Kaizer Chiefs v AmaZulu
Amakhosi kicked-off their league campaign with a 6-0 drubbing of AmaZulu when the sides last met on August 8, in their first PSL fixture of the season.
After a quiet opening 17 minutes, Mark van Heerden had the first real opportunity when his free-kick effort was comfortably saved by Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.
The hosts had a penalty appeal turned down by referee Thabo Nkosi in the 27th minute, after Rusike appeared to have been brought down inside the AmaZulu area, but the referee waived play on despite furious protests from the Chiefs players.
Khune was called into action again in the 30th minute, when the Bafana Bafana goalkeeper made a splendid diving save to deny Van Heerden for a second time in the game, after the AmaZulu defender hit an accurate free-kick attempt from just outside the area.
Chiefs settled into the game and were rewarded for their continued pressure in the 36th minute, when Rusike picked up a pass from George Lebese outside of the area, before the striker unleashed a thunderbolt at goal, which beat AmaZulu goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini to his left for the opening goal.
Chiefs came out into the second half looking to extend their lead, with Rusike threatening 10 minutes into the second period, but failed to get his shot on target from inside the Usuthu area.
Baxter introduced substitute Bernard Parker in the 58th minute, replacing Rusike, who picked up a knock to his ankle, bringing an end to the youngster's solid first half display.
AmaZulu came close in the 65th minute, when Goodman Dlamini made a darting run into Chiefs' area, but was expertly blocked by Tefu Mashamaite with a sliding tackle.
A minute later and at the other end of the pitch, Lehlohonolo Majoro failed to put away a simple chance, when he steered a cross from Lebese narrowly wide of the mark with his head.
Baxter's decision to bring on Parker was rewarded eight minutes from time, when the league's top-scorer extended his tally to nine for the season, with a pinpoint curled effort from outside of AmaZulu's area.
Parker received a neat pass from Kingston Nkhatha - a fellow second half replacement - before the Bafana Bafana international fired in his effort, leaving Kapini with no chance.
Chiefs were dealt a blow just two minutes later, when Willard Katsande was sent off for a second bookable offence, with Amakhosi ending the match a man down.
As time ran out, chances fell to Nkhatha, Lincoln Zvasiya Parker and Majoro, but none came close, as the hosts rounded-off a dominant display in front of a lively crowd.
Kaizer Chiefs (1) 2 Rusike 37’, Parker 82’
AmaZulu (0) 0
Chiefs: Khune, Gaxa, Mathoho, Mashamaite, Masilela, Lebese, Katsande, Letsholonyane, Tshabalala (Nkhatha 72’), Majoro (Zvasiya 88’), Rusike (Parker 58’)
AmaZulu: Kapini, Teyise (Senamela 74’), Van Heerden, Nyandombo, Cele, Mbele, Mokoro, Madondo, Khumalo (Vilakazi 86’), G Dlamini, A Dlamini.