Motaung secures points for Chiefs

For their part, the visiting team put in a credible performance and had their moments in an entertaining game.

The heat in Rustenburg took its toll on both sides as the action unavoidably grew progressively slower as the first half unwound.

It would be fair to say that the opening 45 minutes were evenly balanced as neither side managed to stamp their authority on the game, although despite playing away from home, the Team of Choice still had more shots on goal than their hosts.

There was, however, little goalmouth action to excite the sizable home crowd as Amakhosi’s best effort came via a weak header by Arthur Zwane in the eighth minute – in general Muhsin Ertugral’s side misfired up front as they failed to find any sort of cohesion.

Maritzburg’s best opportunity came in the 35th minute when Sipho Mngomezulu played Fanyana Dhladhla in on the right hand side of the box, but a slip took away the momentum of the move and Chiefs keeper Ithumeleng Khune was able to make a near-post save to prevent Fadlu Davids from nipping in to score.

United started the second half well and had chances through Gary Goldstone, whose header landed in the side-netting, and Tony Tsabedze, who tested Khune with an angled shot following one of Maritzburg’s many short corner routines.

But the Soweto side visibly started to grow in confidence as the lively Abia Nale brought out a good save from Tashrique Goldman with a curling effort, while Tshepo Bule headed over the bar and Wayne Matle came close with a long range pile driver.

Chiefs took the lead on the hour mark with a goal of real quality - Simphiwe Tshabalala whipped in a dangerous cross to the far post. Nale, who was having a storming game for Chiefs, pulled the ball back across goal with an inch-perfect pass which enabled Kaizer Motaung Junior to steer the ball into a near-empty net.

Maritzburg regrouped and did their best to go in search of an equaliser – a good chance was created in the 73rd minute when Sipho Mngomezulu’s cross picked out substitute Bryce Aka, but the striker’s header went just wide of the near post.

Motaung came within a whisker of scoring a second in injury time with a cracking strike from just inside the box, but a fine save by Goldman saw the ball tipped onto the bar.

The final whistle blew shortly afterwards, enabling Chiefs to pick up another three points as their title-challenge really gathers momentum.

Courtesy of Backpagepix