Kaizer Chiefs miss out on Premiership top five with draw against Royal

18 February 2024 - 18:03
By Sithembiso Dindi
Royal AM's Mzwandile Dlamini (left) challenges Christian Saile of Kaizer Chiefs in the DStv Premiership match at Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday.
Image: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images Royal AM's Mzwandile Dlamini (left) challenges Christian Saile of Kaizer Chiefs in the DStv Premiership match at Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday.

Kaizer Chiefs missed an opportunity to move into the DStv Premiership top five after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Royal AM at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday.   

Chiefs, unbeaten in their last five league matches, could have leapfrogged fifth-place Orlando Pirates had they returned from the seven-week Africa Cup of Nations break by collecting maximum points.   

Amakhosi are slowly taking shape under interim coach Cavin Johnson, who has led them to three victories and two draws in five outings.   

After 17 matches in the league this season Chiefs, who yo-yoed in and out of the top eight in the opening half of the season under Molefi Ntseki, are in a more solid sixth place on 25 points, a point behind Pirates.

The clash at Harry Gwala was a game of two halves, with the hosts enjoying more dominance in the first 45 minutes while Chiefs called the shots in the second.   

Despite the first half producing several opportunities for both sides to open the scoring, both lacked accuracy upfront.   

The hosts had more chances in the opening half as they placed Amakhosi under immense pressure.

Chiefs’ central midfielders, Yusuf Maart and Edson Castillo, battled to protect their defence with Royal often too easily getting into the final third. The men from KwaZulu-Natal had eight shots in their search for a goal, but only one was on target.   

Royal attackers Mxolisi Macuphu, Menzi Masuku and Kabelo Mahlasela helped the side dominate the first 24 minutes. However, it was Chiefs who had the best chance to score in the 25th minute when striker Ashley du Preez had a one-on-one opportunity with Royal goalkeeper Hugo Nyame.   

The Cameroonian keeper was named the man-of-the-match as he played a crucial role in Royal earning a point.   

Du Preez had plenty of time to find a way to put the ball at the back of the net but tried to chip Nyame and his attempt went wide.   

After being dominated for the better part of the first half, Chiefs assumed control near the break and took the game to their opponents. Sifiso Hlanti forced a brilliant save from Nyame on the stroke of half time.   

Chiefs continued to enjoy more dominance in the second half. The introduction of players such as Keagan Dolly and Mduduzi Shabalala provided the boost they needed in attack. But their lack of composure upfront hampered them as they could not put their chances to good use.   

Du Preez had another one-on-one opportunity on the hour mark, but Nyame stood firm again.   

The teams shift their focus to the Nedbank Cup last 32 where Royal travel to AmaZulu on Thursday, while Chiefs host Motsepe Foundation Championship side Milford FC at FNB Stadium on Sunday.