Parker into double figures
Bernard Parker (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Bernard Parker saw his PSL goal tally climb into double figures as he helped Kaizer Chiefs seal a comfortable 3-0 victory over Bloemfontein Celtic at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Wednesday night.
Parker opened the scoring with a stunning volley from his weaker foot shortly before the interval, while Knowledge Musona added the second 20 minutes from the end, as Chiefs opened up a nine point lead at the summit of the league table.
The cherry on top came in the form of an own-goal from Keagan Buchanan, who was unfortunate to put the ball into his own net a minute from the end.
Parker has been ever-present for the Glamour Boys this season and has seen his prolific scoring record take him to the top of the scoring charts with 10, while his nearest threat, Katlego Mashego of Mamelodi Sundowns, trails by three.
The hosts made a bright start and kept hold of the ball as Celtic struggled to keep up with the defending champions, who moved the ball at pace and had chances open up for Siphiwe Tshabalala and Knowledge Musona early on.
Celtic did well to keep the Soweto outfit at bay, as the defensive line cleared the danger when Chiefs came knocking and ensured that the game remained tight at either end of the pitch.
Celtic were asking plenty of question of the Chiefs defence at the set-piece, with the best of the action coming from corners and free-kicks, which were aimed at skipper Clayton Daniels, who was winning everything in the air but was unable to hit the target with his head.
But Chiefs would not be kept out, as a turnover in possession resulted in Parker's 10th league goal of the season, as the Bafana Bafana marksman found the back of the net on the stroke of half-time.
Chiefs picked up the ball in Celtic's half, quickly whipped in a cross for Kingston Nkhatha, who miscued a spectacular bicycle-kick effort and instead saw the ball fall kindly for an unmarked Parker.
The in-form striker unleashed a deadly left-footed volley, which beat goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb at his near post and flew into the top corner as the log-leaders took the advantage into the half-time break.
Chiefs wasted little time after the break in going on the offensive and came close to a second five minutes into the second period as a superb combination between Parker and Musona led to the latter drilling his shot at goal, but it was deflected wide of the mark from close-range.
Celtic had their best chance of the game fall to Joel Mogorosi, who was denied only by the crossbar which came to the rescue for Chiefs on the hour mark, as the playmaker thundered an effort straight at Itumeleng Khune, with the country's number one shot-stopper guiding the ball onto the post and out of danger.
Amakhosi soaked up the pressure applied by the visitors and put the result beyond Celtic in the 70th minute when Musona's well-timed curled strike beat a despairing Tignyemb, as the home side stretched their lead with the game headed towards its conclusion.
Buchanan would have the last say, but not in the way he would have wanted, as a corner took a deflection from the young midfielder's head and trickled into Tignyemb's net for the third of the night, capping a disappointing night for the Free State side.