Kaizer Chiefs stumble to an unconvincing victory
Dumisani Zuma's 50th-minute strike earned Kaizer Chiefs an unconvincing 1-0 Absa Premiership victory over Maritzburg United at FNB Stadium yesterday.
Last-placed Maritzburg, had they had confidence and rhythm, might have capitalised on a Chiefs side that sat too deep in the first half. But United, despite two wins from four under new coach Eric Tinkler coming into the game, had no such belief.
That seemed the biggest factor in the result as a disjointed Chiefs, who did improve and put together a more coherent, structured attack in the second half, stumbled to a win.
The first half for Chiefs was perhaps their worst half so far under Ernst Middendorp.
Whatever the plan, it was hard to see. Amakhosi could barely string two passes together. But they had two good chances.
First Leonardo Castro was able to turn and strike at Richard Ofori, and Bernard Parker hit the rebound into the side-netting with the goalkeeper out of position.
Bruce Bvuma - starting in goal ahead of Richard Akpeyi - had to palm out Emmanuel Ntiya-Ntiya's sliced clearance. The keeper was kept busy, also having to stop Fortune Makaringe's close-range shot.
In the 26th minute the experiment of starting Philani Zulu in central midfield was terminated when the normally left-sided player was replaced by Willard Katsande.
Chiefs' second opportunity came when Khama Billiat got on the end of George Maluleka's chip and headed over the advancing Ofori. Nazeer Allie athletically cleared off the line, then again from Zuma.
After the break Chiefs handed a debut to SA under-20 international Nkosingiphile Ngcobo as Billiat limped off.
Maritzburg almost caught Chiefs when Mohau Mokate ran onto Yannick Zakri's flick and beat Bvuma - and the right upright.
On the balance of chances, Amakhosi deserved a goal. It came when Parker's classy touch found Castro, who passed to Zuma on the left, the winger finishing past Ofori.
The influential Castro attempted a strike from an impossible angle, blocked by Ofori.