Chiefs beat Sundowns 1-0
Posted: 8 January 2011 Time: 17:34
Kaizer Chiefs blew the title race wide open with a 1-0 win over log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.
Kaizer Motaung Jnr scored his first goal since December 2009 to hand the Amakhosi the win, which closes the gap between them and the Brazilians to just a single point.
The first half was a major disappointment, with neither side able to get going. The midfield was heavily congested, forcing both sides to play the long ball or work the flanks, neither of which worked effectively.
Tinashe Nengomasha had a shot on the half hour mark. He stormed forward from a deep position, exchanging passes along the way, but his eventual effort almost went out for a throw-in.
Sundowns were arguably the better team, but in the absence of the suspended Katlego Mphela they fielded Mabhuti Khenyeza as a lone striker.
The stocky forward worked hard but his tendency to drift into wide positions to pick up the ball was counterproductive to the Brazilians’ attack.
The only genuine save of the first half saw Itumeleng Khune punch away a Franklin Cale effort from a free-kick in the 34th minute.
Chiefs came to life soon after and it was no surprise that Knowledge Musona was at the heart of it, very nearly scoring a terrific chip in the 38th minute, but his effort travelled just over Wayne Sandilands’ crossbar.
Just before the break Cale had another free-kick, but the ball was blocked by Siphiwe Tshabalala in the 18-yard area.
Tshabalala used his arm to stop the shot and a penalty should have been given. Neither referee Lwandile Mfiki nor his assistant close to the action on the sideline spotted the offence.
The second half was much more entertaining.
12 minutes into the second half, Tshabalala floated in a cross from the left flank and Kaizer Motaung Jnr beat Method Mwanjale at the far post to the ball and powered a header past Sandilands.
Sundowns very nearly drew level just two minutes later, but Cale was denied by an excellent save from Khune.
The Brazilians reacted by introducing Nyasha Mushekwi and Richard Henyekane, but even with all three available strikers on the pitch they were unable to bring themselves level.
Sandilands made a couple of crucial saves in the final few minutes as the home team began to exploit the inevitable space left behind by a team pushing forward for an equaliser.