Controversial win for Chiefs
Reneilwe Letsholonyane (Gallo)
Cape Town - Kaizer Chiefs jumped up to fourth on the Absa Premiership standings after a 1-0 win over 10-man Santos at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Friday night, but it was not a match without controversy.
Reneilwe Letsholonyane scored the first-ever goal at the new World Cup stadium to sink the People’s Team, who had Thabiso Ntloana sent off just two minutes after the goal for a stamp on Nkosinathi Nhleko.
But with five minutes to go, substitute Eleazar Rodgers headed the ball over the line before it was cleared by Thabang Rooi. Referee Harold Lekitane initially looked to have pointed to the spot, but then bizarrely ordered a drop-ball - much to Santos’ digust.
In an even first half, Chiefs had the first chance when Josta Dladla found space inside the area, but his first touch was a poor one and allowed the defence to clear.
Letsholonyane fired a shot straight at goalkeeper Tshepo Motsoeneng soon after, before Tyren Arendse dragged one wide at the other end.
The two sides were restricted to long-range efforts up until the 39th minute, when a well-worked free-kick routine from Chiefs almost allowed Thabang Rooi to score, but for some brave goalkeeping.
Arthur Bartman also had to be alert at the other end when Graham King burst through, but it remained goalless at the break.
Santos almost scored the opener early in the second half - King’s run down the left setting up Phikolethu Spelman, but Thomas Sweswe put his body on the line to clear the goalbound shot.
A few minutes later and Chiefs had the lead. A great ball from Knowledge Musona played Abia Nale in on goal. His cross was only parried to the feet of Letsholonyane, who calmly side-footed home.
Three minutes later and Santos’ position was even worse - a red card for Ntloana for a stamp on the hard-working Nhleko, who soon after beat two defenders before forcing a near-post save from Motsoeneng.
Santos kept fighting and after King volleyed straight at Bartman, the controversial moment when the linesman failed to spot the ball crossing the line - and thereby handing Chiefs the three points.