Chiefs, SuperSport play to a thrilling goalless draw in Mbombela
Kaizer Chiefs failed to give their legion of fans a fitting birthday present after they were held to a thrilling but goalless Absa Premiership draw against SuperSport United at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday evening.
Amakhosi turn 48 today (on Sunday) and would have loved to mark the occasion with a victory that would have cut Mamelodi Sundowns’ lead at the top to just three points.
Instead, Chiefs remain stuck in fourth position on 23 points from 16 matches - five points adrift of the leaders Sundowns, who have played a game less.
Sundowns, who lead the chasing pack on 28 points from 15 matches, were pegged back 3-2 away at Polokwane City in the day’s earlier match.
Chiefs were first to get out of their blocks and could have found themselves one nil up as early as the third minute.
Playmaker Hendrick Ekstein found himself with plenty of space and only goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse to beat but the midfielder rolled his effort inches wide off target.
Gustavo Paez also had a decent shot at goal minutes later but his effort was always sailing over the cross bar as the game started to open up with both sides showing intent to get on the score sheet.
SuperSport too had their chances but it was a first half that belonged to the visitors Chiefs.
Reneilwe Letsholonyane released Aubrey Modiba with a perfect defense-splitting pass, the left winger controlling the ball well to beat his marker before laying the ball to striker Jeremy Brockie, who was blocked just when he was about to pull the trigger as SuperSport had their first real attempt at goal.
Chiefs were the better side in as far as chances go in the first half but SuperSport turned the game on its head in the second half with a myriad of missed chances, with Itumeleng Khune’s saves standing in the way of victory for Eric Tinkler’s men.
Brockie thought he had broken the deadlock in the 63rd minute only for his celebrations to cut short by the offside flag.
Brockie put the ball at the back of the net after Khune had parried away a powerful Sipho Mbule volley and ball fell kindly to the Kiwi striker, who was ruled offside.
For SuperSport, it was the sixth league match in a row without registering a victory. They remain stuck in 12th spot with 17 points having played four matches less.
Steve Komphela handed a debut to youngster Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya and the 21-year-old rabbed his opportunity with both his hands.
Ntiya-Ntiya made a strong case for himself with a decent display on the left side of the Chiefs midfield and, although he was just promoted to the senior team on the eve of the game, he looked like he has been playing alongside established campaigners in Siphiwe Tshabalala and Williard Katsande.
Komphela’s team has been busy in the transfer market after releasing defender Lorenzo Gordinho to Bloemfontein Celtic.
Chiefs signed Leonardo Castro from Sundowns, Kabelo Mahlasela from Celtic as well as Siphelele Ntshangase from Baroka FC but all the three new signings understandably failed to make the match-day squad as they only joined a few days ago.
Recently signed midfielder Mahlasela was expected to be thrown into the deep end but suffered an unfortunate injury during his first training session with Amakhosi on Thursday.
Other PSL weekend results:
Friday, 5 January 2018:
Ajax Cape Town 1 – 2 Maritzburg United
Bidvest Wits 0 – 1 Free State Stars
Saturday, 6 January 2018:
Polokwane City 3 – 2 Mamelodi Sundowns