Kaizer Chiefs humiliated by KZN upstarts’ Royal flush

18 September 2021 - 19:23
Tshidiso Monamodi of Royal AM is challenged by Njabulo Blom of Kaizer Chiefs in the DStv Premiership match at FNB Stadium on September 18 2021.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix/Gallo Images Tshidiso Monamodi of Royal AM is challenged by Njabulo Blom of Kaizer Chiefs in the DStv Premiership match at FNB Stadium on September 18 2021.

What seemed a bright start for Stuart Baxter's second era at Kaizer Chiefs has quickly deviated into the territory of loose and muddy, as fired-up Royal AM profited from a wayward performance with a 4-1 DStv Premiership humbling on Saturday.

Victor Letsoalo's strikes in the 34th and 66th minutes put Chiefs under pressure. Sifiso Hlanti's deflected free-kick gave Amakhosi a lifeline in the 74th.

Chiefs substitute Sibusio Mabiliso turned the ball into his own net in the 76th. As AM had Chiefs chasing shadows by the end substitute Mfundo Thikazi stuck in a humiliating fourth in the 95th.

With Bloemfontein Celtic's coach John Maduka retained at the helm, and familiar to the players imported en masse in the sale to the coast, Royal would always be an organised and crafty outfit for Amakhosi to deal with.

Baxter appeared to capitulate to public and media pressure including Njabulo Ngcobo in a three-man central defence.

A patchy performance from his team will have left many questions for Chiefs' coach as he seeks the key to restoring Amakhosi's confidence on the back of six seasons without a trophy.

As Chiefs' movement stretched AM, Amakhosi looked good money for an early goal.

Chippa might have snuck the early blow, though, Letsoalo, showing how dangerous he would be squeezing a shot onto the left upright.

For Amakhosi, Sifiso Hlanti’s low drive found Billiat to steer past the post. Samir Nurković's ball from the left found Billiat with his back to goal to feed the run through of Alexander, who also directed wide.

After Chiefs came out slugging and failed to score they lost steam, and had nervy moments at the back. From one of those, wing Levy Mashiane's cross was poorly dealt with, allowing Letsoalo in to finish.

Chiefs had Phathutshedzo Nange limp off, replaced by Anthony Akumu in the 42nd, as Royal finished the half peppering drives at Petersen.

Amakhosi had a chance to equalise inside a minute back from the break as Billiat beat a player and fed Keagan Dolly through to force a stop from Royal goalkeeper Hugo Nyame, centreback Lesego Manganyi blocking at the feet of Nurkovic from the rebound.

Ngcobo clattered down Letsoalo on the left edge of Chiefs' box. The chunky striker got up and curled a venomous free-kick in at Petersen's right upright.

Hlanti's free-kick took a deflection off Royal's wall to beat Nyame.

If that goal had fortune involved, karma did not wait long to return the favour to Royal. Given Mashikinya fed right-back Zukile Mkhize whose cross blasted off the legs of Mabiliso past diving Petersen.

Deep in added time, Royal strolled in a three-on-two situation via substitute Thikazi’s cool finish.