Kaizer Chiefs and Free State Stars draw
Posted: 5 March 2011 Time: 22:15
Kaizer Chiefs took a leaf out of the book of Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates by scoring a late, late goal to salvage a 1-1 draw in their League match against Free State Stars at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Saturday night.
Ea Lla Koto looked set to claim a 'smash and grab' win after Madoda Motha had put them 1-0 up with just a few minutes of regulation time remaining, but Siphiwe Tshabalala scored in the fourth minute of injury time to level the game.
However, the result is a fourth successive draw for Amakhosi, whose title hopes are slipping away. If Pirates defeat Bloemfontein Celtic tomorrow, then they will have opened up a six-point gap on their arch rivals.
Chiefs made five changes from their 0-0 draw in midweek with Vasco da Gama, the most notable of which saw captain Jimmy Tau and left-sided midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala return from suspension and injury respectively.
Stars' changes included the return of Noah Chivuta and Tebelo Mofokeng to the starting line-up, while midfield anchor Paulus Masehe was still missing due to suspension after his sending off against Ajax Cape Town last weekend.
After a quiet opening, the Amakhosi began to gain the ascendancy in the midfield battle and created a couple of half chances in the first 30 minutes. Knowledge Musona and unlikely goal scorer Thomas Sweswe both had long range shots that were not too far off target.
On-loan striker Stanton Lewis, making just his second start for Chiefs, was the first to produce a save from Ea Lla Koto ‘keeper Kennedy Mweene, but his 32nd minute shot from the right side of the penalty area was easily collected by the Zambian.
Mweene was on hand to frustrate Lewis again about ten minutes later, with the striker trying an improvised back-heel shot after Punch Masenamela's low cross deflected slightly behind the striker's run.
Chiefs created the first clear chance of the second half but Musona pulled his 53rd minute shot wide of Mweene's right-hand post. To be fair to the Zimbabwean striker, he was unlikely to have scored from what was a difficult angle.
Stars' best chances tended to be created from set pieces, such as when substitute Mpho Makola struck a wicked free kick just wide of Itumeleng Khune's left upright in the 58th minute.
On 64 minutes the hosts had a good chance when a sublime pass from Reneilwe Letsholonyane put Jimmy Tau into a great position to create a goal – the right-back's low cross was only half cleared and the ball fell for Musona, who sliced an effort wide of the mark under pressure from Mweene.
Just over ten minutes later, Stars were lucky not to concede a penalty when Madoda Motha tangled with Tau in the box. Television replays suggested that the substitute had impeded Tau's run, but referee Abdul Ebrahim waved away Chiefs' appeals for a spot kick.
With the game seemingly destined to end a goalless stalemate, Stars stunned the hosts and silenced the majority of the large crowd in the venue when Motha headed home from a corner kick in the 86th minute.
Chiefs looked set for defeat, but Tshabalala showed some great composure in the box to stab home a shot in the 94th minute, thereby earning the home team a share of the spoils.
The goal also denied Stars a first ever home and away ‘double' over Amakhosi, after winning the first round match between the teams 1-0 earlier this season.