Kaizer Chiefs held to a draw in Polokwane

23 February 2019 - 17:37 By Marc Strydom
Hendrick Ekstein of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Bongile Booi and Salulani Phiri of Polokwane City during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Polokwane City and Kaizer Chiefs at Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane on 23 February 2019.
Hendrick Ekstein of Kaizer Chiefs challenged by Bongile Booi and Salulani Phiri of Polokwane City during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Polokwane City and Kaizer Chiefs at Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane on 23 February 2019.
Image: ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Kaizer Chiefs all-but confirmed themselves also-rans in the Absa Premiership title race being held to a 1-1 draw by Polokwane City at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday.

Daniel Cardoso’s 15th-minute penalty gave Chiefs a brief lead that was cancelled pit by Walter Musona’s 21st-minute equaliser.

Chiefs seem to be clinging to hopes of still challenging. But with the manner in which teams such as Cape Town City and SuperSport United are pushing at the top, now even top three or four is beginning to look a stretch.

Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp returned to a 3-5-2 formation that has served him well. Kgotso Moleko, Cardoso and Teenage Hadebe were the centrebacks, and Emmanuel Ntiya-Ntiya and Philani Zulu the wingbacks.

George Maluleka, Siphelele Ntshangase and Hendrick Ekstein were the three in midfield, and Khama Billiat and Bernard Parker the strikers.

Josef Vukusic’s City, coming in to the game in eighth place, had been one of the tougher teams to beat in the PSL having lost just three times in 10 league games.

Chiefs had to work hard to have a semblance of dictating play against hard-running Polokwane.

Amakhosi managed that fairly well. Had it not been for Daniel Akpeyi’s goalkeeping howler they would have had a lead at the break.

Chiefs took the lead from the penalty spot after Ekstein’s cross from inside the area struck centreback Nicolas Motloung’s arm. Cardoso struck low to the left of goalkeeper George Chigova – the Chiefs defender’s third penalty scored in three games.

Polokwane’s equaliser came out of nowhere when, from a pedestrian build-up, winger Musona attempted a dipping shot that bounced in under the body of Akpeyi.

Middendorp introduced Dumisani Zuma for Ekstein from the break, then later, in what seemed an overly defensive change, Ramahlwe Mphahlele for Zulu.

Chiefs came out from the change rooms rushing their build-ups less, and more dominant in possession, but struggling to break through dogged defending.

For 39 minutes a chance would not come, then when it did, Zuma getting up for a header, Chigova was at full stretch for a fine save.

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