Absa Premiership

Castro brace helps Chiefs down Highlands Park

2020-01-08 21:38
Leonardo Castro
Leonardo Castro (Kaizer Chiefs website)

Cape Town - Kaizer Chiefs marked their 50th anniversary in the best possible fashion as they cruised to a 3-0 victory over Highlands Park at FNB Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Ernst Middendorp was forced into making a number of changes to his line-up, but that did not hamper Chiefs as Eric Mathoho opened their account in the first half, before Leonardo Castro added two more after the break to secure what would turn out to be a comfortable victory.

The visitors started the match on the front foot as they went in search of an early breakthrough, with Daniel Akpeyi called into action in the seventh minute to keep out Tendai Ndoro's powerful strike.

Chiefs were forced into making a change in the 22nd minute, with Lazarous Kambole making way for Dumisani Zuma following a clash off heads with Sello Motsepe earlier in the match.

The injury-enforced change did not hamper the hosts' momentum, however, as they went on to claim the lead five minutes later. Lebogang Manyama's cross into the box was headed against the crossbar by Mothoho, who reacted quickly by getting back to his feet and unleashing a bicycle kick that Marlon Heugh failed to keep out.

And Amakhosi went close to doubling their lead ten minutes later as Kearyn Baccus fired high and wide from outside the box.

They created one last chance as the first half drew to a close, but it came to nothing as Heugh showed great presence of mind to save Leonardo Castro's close-range shot.

However, there was no stopping Chiefs after the half-time break as they cranked up the pressure on the Lions of the North.

Castro doubled Chiefs' lead in the 57th minute, slotting the ball the home from Baccus' low cross after beating Spiwe Msimango to the ball.

And he notched his second of the evening 12 minutes later as he raced in to nip ahead of Heugh and head into an unguarded net, George Maluleka providing the assist for the goal.

Manyama threatened to add a fourth for Chiefs in the 73rd minute, but his tame effort was easily gathered by Heugh in the visitors' goal.

Highlands Park fashioned a flurry of late chances as they looked to bag a consolation goal, but substitute Mokete Mogaila failed to hit the target after rounding Akpeyi, while Peter Shalulile sent a 90th-minute header straight into the grateful arms of the Nigerian keeper.

Shalulile had a second bite of the cherry a couple of minutes later, but he somehow contrived to fire over the bar when it would have been easier to score.

In the end, Chiefs held on to maintain a clean sheet and claim all three points as they returned to winning ways after a disappointing 2-1 defeat to SuperSport United last time out.

- TEAMTalk


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Friday, 28 February 2020
Maritzburg United v Stellenbosch, Harry Gwala Stadium 20:00
Saturday, 29 February 2020
Orlando Pirates v Kaizer Chiefs, FNB Stadium 15:30
Golden Arrows v Highlands Park, Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium 15:30
Chippa United v AmaZulu, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 18:00
SuperSport United v Wits, Mbombela Stadium 20:15
Sunday, 01 March 2020
Cape Town City v Mamelodi Sundowns, Cape Town Stadium 15:30
Bloemfontein Celtic v Baroka FC, Dr Molemela Stadium 15:30
Polokwane City v Black Leopards, Old Peter Mokaba Stadium 15:30
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