Chiefs return to winning ways

Páez was on song right from the start and forced Richard Ofori into a good save with a blistering long-range strike in the sixth minute.

Five minutes later, Itumeleng Khune was called into action at the other end as a Yazio Atouba free-kick took a heavy deflection, wrong-footing him. The Bafana Bafana goalkeeper scrambled back and palmed it away in unorthodox style.

In the 14th minute, Chiefs broke the deadlock. Siphiwe Tshabalala put Bongolethu Jayiya through on goal with a perfectly-timed ball over the top. Ofori rushed out to block his shot, but Páez was there on the follow-up to finish.

Maritzburg did not appear disheartened by going behind, and in the 33rd minute, Atouba tested Khune again with a long-range strike — which the keeper could only put behind for a corner.

Two minutes later, an uncharacteristic error from Khune almost gave Maritzburg a chance as he dropped an Evans Rusike free-kick. However, Chiefs managed to clear the danger.

Pogiso Sanoka picked up the first booking of the game in the 36th minute for a foul on Páez.

Five minutes later, Khune was tested by yet another long-range shot — this one from Deolin Mekoa. Once again, he was up to the task and made the save.

In the 44th minute, Tshabalala almost doubled the lead after getting on the end of a cross, but Ofori did well to close down the angle as he looked to divert a shot past him.

After the break, Fadlu Davids brought Fortune Makaringe on for Sanoka in the first substitution of the game.

In the 49th minute, Mekoa was booked for a poor challenge on Tshabalala after having committed several fouls earlier in the game.

Nevertheless, Maritzburg looked promising in the early phases of the second half, hitting the Amakhosi defence with several waves of pressure.

Atouba fired a fearsome strike just wide of Khune’s left post in the 55th minute, but three minutes later, Jayiya forced a fine save from Ofori with a long-range shot of his own.

That effort seemed to swing the momentum and in the 60th minute, Páez’s strike took a deflection off former Chiefs defender Siyanda Xulu and found the back of the net.

Seven minutes later, Steve Komphela brought Erick Mathoho on in place of Wiseman Meyiwa.

Khotso Malope was stretchered off shortly afterwards, having seemingly been plagued by discomfort for some time. He was replaced by Hendrick Ekstein.

Davids went for broke 78 minutes into the game, bringing Mohau Mokate and Sheldon van Wyk on for Andrea Fileccia and Denis Weidlich.

Chiefs then made their final change of the night, replacing Jayiya with Bernard Parker.

There was to be a late twist as Lorenzo Gordinho was harshly adjudged to have handled the ball in his box, but Khune saved Rusike’s 88th minute spot-kick.

Lebohang Maboe picked up a 90th minute yellow card for clattering into Philani Zulu in the air, with Maritzburg’s frustration perhaps showing.

Chiefs proved that they have the ability to see out games and threw the cat among the pigeons early on in the ABSA Premiership title race.