Chiefs boost their title chances, high-flying FS Stars go second
Kaizer Chiefs striker Dumisani Zuma came off the bench to give Amakhosi a hard earned 2-1 win over Polokwane City and boosted his team's chances of mounting a serious challenge for the Absa Premiership title.
It only took Zuma two minutes to make a difference after replacing Gustavo Paez in the 64th minute, his second goal of the season handing Amakhosi their sixth victory of the season at a buzzing FNB Stadium last night.
The race for the title is now wide open with Saturday's results that includes Orlando Pirates' emphatic win 3-1 win over leaders Mamelodi Sundowns contributing to what could be a five-team contest.
Free State Stars also raised their hands for the title after beating other contenders Cape Town City 1-0 in Goble Park last night.
Sundowns (31) now lead Stars (28) by three points with most teams having completed 17 matches. Chiefs and Pirates now sit a point behind Benni McCarthy's City in 4th and 5th position respectively - five points off the pace.
A rare lapse of concentration by Chiefs goalkeeper and skipper Itumeleng Khune nearly contributed Amakhosi dropping two valuable points but their manage to recover and get the Zuma's winner in the second half.
In what turned out to be a lively first 45 minutes with both teams having a go at each other, Polokwane were first to open the scoring, with Walter Musona catching Khune off guard with a fierce free kick from over 30 yards in the 22nd minute.
Khune was simply guilty of not watching his goal and not anticipating a long range scorcher from the Zimbabwean striker.
The goal was a fourth of the season for Musona and 18th overall for his team. Musona was also on the score sheet last Saturday when Polokwane beat Mamelodi Sundowns 3-2.
With Steve Komphela dressed for the occasion of his 100 match in charge of Chiefs and employing the attacking 3-5-2 system that had young striker Ryan Moon (21) on a rare start and partnered by Paez, Polokwane's lead was always hanging by a thread and it lasted for nine minutes.
Simphiwe Tshabalala was instrumental in delivering Amakhosi's equaliser, his long range shot troubling Polokwane keeper George Chigova who had to use his legs to keep the ball out for a corner.
Tshabalala took the corner and put it on Moon who headed it in from the near post to cancel out Musona's lead.
Both teams came into this match on an equal footing with a three-match unbeaten run.
It was the Rise and Shine, though, who were better on scoring form with 17 goals compared to Amakhosi’s paltry 13, with Paez and Tshabalala topping their scoring list with three strikes respectively.
Polokwane win over Sundowns last week had league top scorer Rodney Ramagalela firing a magnificent winner in a 3-2 win – their first at home this season.
Chiefs though were better overall than Polokwane as they started this match fifth on the log with 23 points against Polokwane’s 18 and 11th place on the log. Amakhosi, with 16 matches had played a more than Polokwane,
Chiefs last tested defeat at the beginning of December away to Chippa United, while Polokwane were beaten 1-0 at home by Platinum Stars on December 9.
Following that defeat Amakhosi managed to beat Platinum Stars and Ajax Cape Town before being held by SuperSport United in Mbombela last week.
While Chiefs have been busy in the market with three top acquisitions, Polokwane coach Bernard Molekwa has been guarded, although he did hint this week that he was looking to strengthen his team defence that has now shipped in 20 goals in 16 after their game against Chiefs.