Lebogang Manyama's first-half strike was enough to hand Absa Premiership leaders Kaizer Chiefs a 1-0 win over Baroka FC on Saturday evening.
The league leaders started with just one change from the side that put AmaZulu aside, as Lazarous Kambole came in for Samir Nurkovic with Itumeleng Khune remaining in goal.
Baroka absorbed the early pressure and broke through before 20 minutes after Richard Mbulu went one-on-one with Khune, but failed to profit as the latter came up trumps.
Khune’s evening ended as he limped off injured on 26 minutes, as Daniel Akpeyi filled in for the renowned shot stopper. Akpeyi announced his arrival in fine style two minutes later with a point-blank save from Mbulu’s diving header.
Baroka were made to pay for those missed chances after Lebohang Manyama tapped into an empty net 39 minutes in after Elvis Chipezeze spilled Kambole’s initial shot.
Injuries continued to damper the Amakhosi, who were forced to another change a minute to the half as George Maluleka made way for Willard Katsande.
Chiefs maintained their narrow lead in the opening minutes of the second half, as Bakgaga Ba Ga Mphahlele piled on the pressure. Akpeyi was forced into a couple saves from point blank range, but the Nigerian shot-stopper weren’t troubled handling situation effectively instead.
Khama Billiat went close to doubling his side’s tally on 61 minutes, but the Zimbabwe international hit the woodwork with a powerful shot from afar.
Baroka introduced captain Mduduzi Mdantsane for more control in the middle three minutes later, with Collins Makgaka making way. Meanwhile, Happy Mashiane made a long awaited return from injury as he replaced Kearyn Baccus in the final ten minutes.
Chiefs almost surrendered their lead at the death, but Gerald Phiri Jnr and Martin Nsimba hit the woodwork as Ernst Middendorp's charges held on for the victory.
Chiefs: Khune, Sasman, Mathoho, Cardoso, Frosler, Maluleka, Manyama, Parker, Baccus, Billiat, Kambole.
Subs: Akpeyi, Katsande, Ngezana, Twala, Castro, Gordinho, Mashiane.
Baroka: Chipezeze, Mogaswa, Shozi, Sibiya, Ngubane, Patjie, Phiri Jnr, Kambala, Mabeba, Makgaka, Mbulu.
Subs: Dlamini, Kgoetyane, Ntswane, Madondo, Nzimba, Selemela, Mdantsane.