Chiefs brush aside Stars
Teenage Hadebe rose to head in Siphiwe Tshabalala’s free-kick four minutes and 30 seconds into injury tie for Kaizer Chiefs to snatch a last-gasp 1-0 Absa Premiership victory against Free State Stars on Tuesday night.
The strike meant saw Stars goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare finally beaten after a string of saves from the Iviorian had kept his team in the game, and an Amahkosi who edged the last hour of the game, without being rampantly dominant, at bay at Goble Park in Bethlehem.
The result saw Chiefs leapfrog over Stars and Maritzburg United into third place on 39 points.
The Soweto giants’ title chances remain slim, after leaders Mamelodi Sundowns and second-placed Orlando Pirates both won on Tuesday night.
Had Zimbabwean centreback Hadebe not come to his team’s rescue 30 second past the four minutes of allotted injury time perhaps even alarm bells might have begun to ring of the third-placed challenge beginning to slip away.
Stars had the best chance of the opening half in the fifth minute.
Patrick Phungwayo's innocuous pass into the area took a deflection and bounced awkwardly, and was spilled by Itumeleng Khune. Taking the rebound, Harris Tchilimbou touched into the prostrate Khune, then was dispossessed at the post by the lunging challenge of Daniel Cardoso.
Stars warhorse Paulus Masehe swung a right boot lustily and connected a fine drive that was kept out by a diving Khune.
At either end Leonardo Castro for Chiefs and Sinethemba Jantjie for Stars struck stinging low shots across goal past uprights.
Just past the half-hour Castro’s chip teed up Pule Ekstein to force a save from Sangare.
Nine minutes after the restart Chiefs, having defended a dangerous situation, played a textbook counterattack where Tshabalala fed Ekstein on the right to cross and find Castro, the Colombian's looping header tipped over the bar at full stretch by Sangare.
Increasingly Amakhosi were creating the clearer chances, as Ekstein again struck one at Stars' Ivorian goalkepeer, who again made the stop.
Chiefs had enjoyed the ascendancy either side of the half, but could not profit, then faded.
They rediscovered the sharp end to their attack again right at the end.
Substitute Bernard Parker’s overhead kick in injury time tested Sangare again in what might have seemed the last chance for Amakhosi.
But finally the keeper was beaten with almost the final touch of the game by Hadebe.