Chiefs start with stalemate

The Amakhosi probably had the better of their counterparts from Cape Town throughout the 90 minutes but were unable to convert their dominance into an advantage on the score sheet.

Santos goalkeeper Tshepo Motsoeneng had an early scare when he had to punch a well-struck free kick from David Mathebula away, but the 30-year-old had little more to do in the rest of the first half.

Chiefs dominated possession but striker Nkosinathi Nhleko had to feed off scraps for the most part as a well organised Santos defence frustrated the hosts.

The closest they came to scoring was ten minutes before the break, when a clever pass from Mathebula found Tinashe Nengomasha in space on the edge of the box. The Zimbabwean powered forward and managed to get away a low shot despite the presence of two defenders but the ball ricocheted away off the upright.

Santos themselves rarely troubled Itumeleng Khune in the Amakhosi’s goal but left winger Graham King should have done better with a volleyed chance just before the half hour mark, while Tyren Arendse attempt at a glancing header from Romano Scott’s excellent cross also left much to be desired.

Both sides looked to spruce up their attacks early in the second half, with Santos throwing on the maverick Erwin Isaacs and Chiefs replacing Nhleko with young Knowledge Musona.

Isaacs almost broke the deadlock on 64 minutes with a snap shot from the edge of the box that forced the first decent save from Bafana Bafana keeper Khune.

Three minutes later Chiefs’ Mandla Masango cut inside off the right flank and let fly with a good effort from 25 metres out but Motsoeneng was equal to the task.

With just under a quarter of an hour to play, Isaacs again threatened to breach Chiefs’ defence, this time controlling Rodgers’ clever cross just a couple of metres from goal, but left-back Punch Masenamela made a crucial intervention before the Santos forward could get a shot away.

It was the last genuine chance of the match, as both sides ended up settling for a point in their opening game of the season.