Chiefs go to five matches unbeaten, but find Baroka too tough to crack
Kaizer Chiefs went to five matches unbeaten, and on balance of play might have felt they could have had more than a second DStv Premiership draw in succession, 1-1 against Baroka FC at FNB Stadium on Tuesday.
Thamsanqa Masiya put Baroka ahead against the flow of the game in the 53rd minute, Chiefs having to rely on Goodman Mosele’s own goal in 76th for an equaliser.
Chiefs now turn their attention to Saturday's Soweto derby against Orlando Pirates at FNB.
Amakhosi applied pressure for large periods of the 90 minutes, Baroka’s committed defending and goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke’s control of his area denying Amakhosi more than a share of the spoils.
Gavin Hunt’s 4-5-1, with a midfield anchored by Daniel Cardoso behind two advanced midfielders, inside of wingers, and Samir Nurković as the crucial point-man, has brought stability and four unbeaten matches for Chiefs. Three wins were followed by Saturday’s 0-0 draw away to Stellenbosch.
Chiefs’ coach saw no reason to alter what had finally worked for his team after their dismal start, with his only change Reeve Frosler returning from injury at left wing, Lebogang Manyama coming inside as Darrel Matsheke went to the bench.
Coach Thoka Matsemela’s Baroka had beaten Stellenbosch 3-2 away last Wednesday for a first win in six matches, then lost 2-0 at home to AmaZulu on Saturday as they held 10th place going into Tuesday’s game. Chiefs were in seventh — up from 14th in the space of less than two weeks.
A tight first half from both teams saw chances hard to come by. The honours were even until 10 minutes before the break when Chiefs pressed forward.
There were decent opportunities for both teams midway through the half. A Chiefs counterattack saw the ball cleared from in front of Happy Mashiane, as Manyama chipped back in to find Frosler free on the left, who shot into the netting.
For Baroka, from Nhlanhla Mgaga’s corner Daniel Akpeyi came and missed, as left-back Ananias Gebhardt was able to get up alone but could not keep his header below the crossbar.
Chiefs, enjoying territory at the end of the half, threatened, just a lack of a final pass or wrong decision denying them a real opening.
Baroka took the lead against the run of play from a route one goal just after the break.
Masuluke’s free-kick from deep in his half on the right was knocked up to the edge of the area where striker Evidence Makgopa got up for the flick-on down to the feet of winger Masiya, who controlled and finished off the right foot of Akpeyi.
Hunt responded with striker Leonardo Castro, on to partner Nurkovic, replacing centreback Erick Mathoho and Kearyn Baccus on for Mashiane in midfield.
Soon Manyama’s chip found Castro to muscle past a defender and head wide, the Colombian then missing a Nkosingiphile Ngcobo cross by centimetres.
Chiefs, applying pressure again, on balance of play deserved a goal. They got it though an unfortunate own goal to Baroka.
Castro was involved again, his flick-on playing Frosler down the left who cut inside and attempted to square to players queuing up in the middle, midfielder Mosele making the intercept but turning the ball into his own net.