Chiefs held by Maritzburg
Itumeleng Khune (Backpage)
Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs gave away an opportunity to climb further clear at the top of the league table as they were held to a 1-1 draw against Maritzburg United in pouring rain in Polokwane on Wednesday evening.
Nonetheless, with second-placed Orlando Pirates, who hold a game in hand, settling for a 1-1 stalemate with AmaZulu in Durban, Chiefs retained their seven-point lead in the Premiership standings.
"We played an average first half but we dragged it back in the second, and we were much better," said Amakhosi coach Stuart Baxter.
"It was difficult in the second half, with the weather, to get information onto the field."
VIDEO: Chiefs v Maritzburg, highlights
Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune did well to hold off a determined Maritzburg side and was forced to make two brilliant saves within three minutes in an otherwise tame first half.
First he denied Heinrich Isaacks, who cut inside the Chiefs defence, with a diving save, and then got a hand to a Ruben Cloete strike, which he tipped over the bar.
Taking confidence from their first-half performance, the visitors went ahead two minutes into the second period, when a goalmouth melee left a handful of Amakhosi defenders floundering in the area as the ball slipped in for an own goal.
With 21 minutes left, however, Chiefs made up for the blunder when Eric Mathoho fired in a powerful long-range header from just inside the area, to find the equaliser.
Struggling in the conditions, neither side managed to net the winner as they settled for one point each.
"I wish we could give every one of my players the Man of the Match award," delighted Maritzburg coach Ernst Middendorp said.
"I'm pleased with the performance, but there is still more to come from us, and we can do better."