Chiefs outlast Pirates
Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs returned to the top of the Absa Premiership standings with a 2-1 win over Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
Goals from Bernard Parker and Siphiwe Tshabalala handed the Amakhosi a victory that puts them top of the log - temporarily at least - and serves as revenge for their defeat at the hands of the Buccaneers in last week’s MTN8 final.
Chiefs bossed the first half, though the first real sign of their dominance only arrived in the 24th minute when Bernard Parker almost got onto the end of a great through ball from Lucky Baloyi, but Moeneeb Josephs got off his line quickly.
Three minutes later the team in gold and black opened the scoring. Parker netted his first league goal for the club, sending a fantastic shot direct from a free kick into the top corner. Josephs got a hand to the ball, but it wasn’t enough to keep it out.
Vladimir Vermezovic’s team continued to dictate proceedings and in injury time at the end of the first half they took advantage of some slack play from Andile Jali, allowing Josta Dladla to tee up Siphiwe Tshabalala - the Bafana Bafana midfielder buried the ball in the back of the net to make it 2-0.
Pirates replaced injured striker Ndumiso Mabena with holding midfielder Clifford Ngobeni at the start of the second half, and the presence of an extra man in the middle of the park allowed Julio Leal’s side to boss the remainder of the game.
However, Bucs lacked a cutting edge up front and the service for striker Bongani Ndulula left much to be desired. In fact, Chiefs perhaps had the best scoring chances of the second half, particularly Lehlohonolo Majoro, who sliced a close range effort in the 62nd minute.
Yet Pirates continued to plug away again the outstanding Chiefs defence and they finally got some reward for their endeavour right at the death when defender Happy Jele scored with an extraordinary volley after meeting Dikgang Mabalane’s free kick at the near post.
Kaizer Chiefs (2) 2 (Parker 27’, Tshabalala 45+3’)
Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Jele 90+4’)
Chiefs: Khune; Tau, Sweswe, Isaacs, Jambo; Dladla, Letsholonyane, Baloyi (Katsande 30’), Tshabalala; Parker (Nale 84’), Majoro (Ngcobo 68’)
Pirates: Josephs; Jele, Sangweni, Lekgwathi, Cloete; Segolela (Mabalane 71’), Manyisa, Jali, Klate (Bester 61’); Mabena (Ngobeni 46’), Ndulula