Kaizer Chiefs beat Bidvest Wits 1-0 in a controversial Absa Premiership encounter in Johannesburg on Tuesday night. Despite starting brightly and being on the front foot for majority of the match, the Clever Boys would end up ruing their missed chances as Chiefs ran out victors, scoring with their only shot on target; a George Maluleka free kick. A packed Bidvest Stadium welcomed the players onto the field and the support seemed to be appreciated by the players, more specifically the home team.
Wits dominated the opening minutes, pushing the ball around comfortably and threatening the visitors’ goal, while Amakhosi looked content with soaking up the pressure. Phakamani Mahlambi looked lively and was at the centre of the hosts’ most promising attacks. In the seventh minute, Daine Klate missed a sitter, heading wide after a delightful floated cross from Mahlambi.
Four minutes later, however, Klate was on target but was denied by Riyaad Pieterse, who tipped the winger’s diving header over the crossbar. Klate’s fellow winger, Mahlambi had been causing havoc on the right wing and should have scored in the 26th minute when he cut through the Glamour Boys’ defence, but shot well wide of the target. Golden boy Mahlambi had another opportunity to put the home side ahead in the 34th minute, but after a wonderfully floated free kick, the winger put his effort over with the goal openly staring at him.
At the other end, the Naturena club’s best chances had come from set-pieces, however they did not look like scoring and failed to register a shot on target in the first half. Gavin Hun’ts men continued to work the away side in the second half, but struggled to find a way past Pieterse. First, Mahlambi was beaten to a through ball by the visiting keeper, then Klate turned over an effort following an Elias Pelembe free kick in the 65th minute and finally, James Keene was denied in the 83rd minute by a Spider-man save from Pieterse, saving well to his right when the effort seemed destined for the goal.
Keene’s effort was not to be Pieterse’s last call to action who was equal to S’fiso Hlanti’s scorcher of a free kick right at the death. In contrast, Moeneeb Josephs was beaten at the other end with the only shot on target that he had to face, a rocket of a free kick, driven by Maluleka into the bottom left hand corner after a Bongani Khumalo handball. Hunt’s charges continued to press on after conceding, but Steve Komphela’s lot stood firm. After 90 minutes of action and seven additional minutes, Maluleka’s free kick proved to be enough to secure the win for the defending league champions, moving them within a point of their opponents on the table.
Chiefs: Pietersen, Moleko, Mathoho, Gordino, Gaxa, Katsande, Letsholonyane, Maluleka, Twala, Tshabalala, Abraw. Subs:Khuzwayo, Cardoso, Parker, Matovu, Bukenya, Baloyi, Gould.
Wits: Josephs, Hlatswayo, Khumalo,Hlanti, Klate, Nhlapo, Shongwe, Sekese, Mahlambi, Keene, Motswhari. Subs: Barr, Lecki, Gome, Vilakazi, Pelembe, Botes, Mosiatlhaga.
Photo credit: Nick Lourens