Chiefs win, Aces relegated

The other goal was scored by Knowledge Musona. Chiefs played with 10-men in the second half when Valery Nahayo was sent off.

The result is an important one at both ends of the log. Amakhosi have moved into second place on goal difference and are very much in the title race, while Aces are now sure to finish bottom of the standings and their relegation has been mathematically confirmed.

Chiefs started brightly and almost took the lead in the third minute – Knowledge Musona helped a cross toward goal and Denis Onyango needed to make a sharp reaction save to keep the ball out of the net.

The Aces goalkeeper was called on to make a couple more saves in the opening minutes, denying Abia Nale and Punch Masenamela, while Mthokozisi Yende hit a thunderous drive just over the crossbar in the 17th minute.

After weathering the early storm, AmaZayoni looked relatively comfortable in defence. Chiefs certainly dominated the midfield battle and enjoyed a far greater share of the possession, but they were unable to create the kind of attacking opportunities that they did in the first quarter hour or so.

Aces created only one chance in the first half, but it was a good one – striker Mpho Maleka sprinted free down the right of the penalty area and struck a low shot on target that called Itumeleng Khune into action for the first time.

After a goalless first 45 minutes, Chiefs opted to reinforce their attacking options by introducing striker Sthembiso Ngcobo in place of Yende at the start of the second half, and left-winger George Lebese in place of Nale ten minutes later.

On the hour mark Onyango again frustrated the Chiefs supporters who had made the trip north to Polokwane, punching away a fierce shot from Musona as the Soweto side began to up the pressure on their opponents.

However, on 65 minutes they were reduced to ten men. Maleka threatened to sprint free on goal and central defender Valery Nahayo blatantly hauled down the Aces striker. As it was a clear and cynical denial of a goal scoring opportunity, referee Robert Sithole had no choice but to show Nahayo a straight red card.

Yet despite going a man down, Chiefs broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute. A slip from Fabian McCarthy in the penalty area allowed Jimmy Tau to square a pass for Lebese; Onyango denied the winger from close range but the ball fell kindly for Tau, who stroked it home to make it 1-0.

The Amakhosi’s lead was almost very short lived – just three minutes after Tau’s goal, Maleka was handed a one-on-one scoring chance but Khune made a brave block at the attacker’s feet to keep his team’s advantage intact.

After Lebese had almost doubled Chiefs’ advantage – hitting the post after brilliantly rounding Onyango – it was Musona who made sure of the win for the Soweto giants in the second minute of injury time, using his skill and speed to skin Warren Bishop before beating Onyango with an angled shot.