Chiefs grind out another win as Paez bags a brace against Maritzburg
Gustavo Paez scored the goals but Itumeleng Khune was again the foundation for a fortunate Kaizer Chiefs victory as Steve Komphela’s side won 2-0 for a haul of seven points out of a possible nine from their last three Absa Premiership games.
Chiefs, as had been the case in their last two games against Cape Town City and champions Bidvest Wits, spent much of the game on the back foot but a double from their Venezuelan import ensured they came away with the spoils, however undeserved.
Maritzburg United showed their growing quality but their finishing let them down as they suffered a first Premier Soccer League (PSL) defeat of the new season.
Paez scored on either side of the break but Khune was full value for the man of the match award for another game full of heroics, including a late penalty save.
There might have been a light drizzle over the Harry Gwala Stadium but it did nothing to dampen the spirits of the 12,000-sell out crowd who certainly got their money’s worth.
The tempo was furious from the start and did not let up until the end.
Paez got the ball rolling as early as the sixth minute with a shot that had Maritzburg goalkeeper Richard Ofori at full strength while at the other end Yazid Atouba, on his full debut for the Team of Choice, drilled a free kick off the Chiefs’ wall that had Khune going the wrong way but the keeper still managed to get a volley-ball style hand to keep it from going into his goal.
The goal came after a delightful over the top of the Maritzburg backline by Siphiwe Tshabalala that set Bongoleythu Jayiyaa free. Ofori came out to block him but the ball rebounded for Paez to sweep in and finish.
It could have been 2-0 just 120 seconds later but debutant Kgotso Malope, in for the injured George Maluleka, shot wildly over.
Maritzburg then took over the show and with Lebogang Maboe looking to dictate matters in the midfield, the home side came at a retreating Chiefs.
Khune made difficult saves to deny Atouba (33rd minute), Deolin Mekoa (41st minute) and Evans Rusike in stoppage time at the end of the first half.
The Chiefs skipper almost fluffed a 35th minute free kick from Evans Rusike, failing to get his body behind the ball but still managing to get it to safety.
Maritzburg again dominated after the break but Chiefs killed the match off on the hour when slack marking at a corner allowing Paez to poach a goal in the visitors’ first attack of the second half.
Maritzburg might have set up a grandstand finish when referee Daniel Bennett gave them a fortuitous penalty but Rusike’s effort was turned around the corner by Khune.
It looked a bad call by the referee so justice was served in that instant although overall Chiefs did head off with the air of highway robbers.
Other midweek PSL Results:Tuesday, 19 September:
Orlando Pirates 1 - 0 Cape Town City
SuperSport United 1 - 1 Chippa United
Polokwane City 2 - 3 Free State Stars
Wednesday, 20 September:
Platinum Stars 0 - 1 Lamontville Golden Arrows
Maritzburg United 0 - 2 Kaizer Chiefs
AmaZulu 3 - 0 Bidvest Wits
Bloemfontein Celtic 0 - 2 Baroka FC