Kaizer Chiefs' premiership opening day blues continue under coach Steve Komphela
Kaizer Chiefs’ poor start to a premiership season under coach Steve Komphela continued when they could only manage a 1-1 draw with Bloemfontein Celtic in their opening match of the new league campaign at Free State Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Chiefs had lost two years in a row under Komphela on the opening day and Eric Mathoho’s opening goal in the 36th minute appeared to finally end this unwelcome statistic.
Mathoho rose majestically to meet a sweetly struck Keagan Buchanan corner kick and the gangling defender powered home a thunderous header that bewildered Celtic goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb did not know much about.
A rare opening day win under the increasingly pressured mentor appeared to be in the bag until Chiefs defender Lorenzo Gordinho handled the ball inside the area with about 17 minutes to go before the end of the match.
The referee immediately pointed to the penalty spot and Atusaye Nyondo made no mistake from the resultant kick, sending Chiefs goalkeeper Brilliant Khuzwayo the wrong way.
He gave the home team a priceless equaliser that succeeded in also putting pressure on Komphela in the first weekend of the season.
Komphela complained about the state of the rugby stadium pitch in the post match interviews but he conceded that Chiefs should be happy they did not lose yet another game under him on the opening day.
“A draw, I thought was a fair reflection of the match,” the Chiefs coach said.
New Celtic coach Veselin Jelusic will be happy after taking a point off one of the teams that optimistic amateur clairvoyants always tip to win the league title.
It certainly was not the most exciting of matches in the first half and Chiefs goalkeeper Khuzwayo and his Celtic counterpart Tignyemb would have been forgiven if they’d whipped out Bonang Matheba’s book to keep themselves entertained during the dour opening period.
The second half was a lot more enterprising and with Celtic pushing men forward, it was only a matter of time before they got the break they needed.
Chiefs traveled to Bloemfontein without goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune after the Bafana Bafana and Amakhosi No1 struggled with a chest infection.
Khune was left behind in Johannesburg with midfielder George Maluleka, who is nursing a knee injury.
Chiefs host Supersport United at FNB Stadium in their next match on Wednesday night while Celtic are away to Golden Arrows on the next day. - TimesLIVE