KAIZER Chiefs extended their lead at the top of the Absa Premiership to 16 points when they defeated Free State Stars 2-1 at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Goals from Kingston Nkhatha and Siyabonga Nkosi took the Amakhosi to their 13th league victory in 17 undefeated matches, while Ea Lla Koto remain second last on the log after suffering their ninth defeat.
Chiefs looked the likelier scorers from the early minutes and first threatened through lanky Ugandan utility player Ivan Bukenya, who headed wide of the target in the seventh minute.
Bukenya, playing in the heart of midfield in place of the injured Willard Katsande, then volleyed over from an 11th minute corner kick as the Soweto giants took control of the play.
Amakhosi striker Kingston Nkhatha must have thought he had opened the scoring in the 29th minute when he met Siyabonga Nkosi’s cross with a powerful goal-bound header, but Stars goalkeeper Glen Verbauwede made an excellent save.
However, just six minutes later, the Zimbabwean striker got the better of the Belgian ‘keeper with a clever flicked finish from close range, as he re-directed Tefu Mashamaite’s header from a corner kick to make it 1-0.
It took Chiefs just seven minutes of the second half to double their advantage. Nkhatha turned from scorer to provider, playing a low cross from the left channel for Nkosi to steer the ball home from close range and make it 2-0.
Stars responded well to going two goals down and tested Chiefs goalkeeper Brilliant Khuzwayo several times, without ever really looking like they were going to find the back of the net.
However, a bizarre own goal from Erick Mathoho in the 84th minute set up a nervy end to the game for the hosts. ‘Tower’ strangely headed into his own net from a corner kick when it seemed Khuzwayo had the ball covered.
Yet Chiefs were able to see out the match and pick up all three points on offer.
Kaizer Chiefs (1) 2 (Nkhatha 35’, Nkosi 52’)
Free State Stars (0) 1 (Mathoho og 84’)
Kaizer Chiefs: Khuzwayo, Gaxa, Mathoho, Mashamaite, Masilela, Bukenya, Letsholonyane, Parker, Nkosi (Tshabalala 67’), Lebese (Karuru 90+3’), Nkhatha (Mthembu 86’)
Free State Stars: Verbauwede, Cardoso, Sankara, Masehe, Thlone, Venter, Mabunda, Mdluli (Henyekane 82’), Mashego, Sekola, Abraw (Masana 84’)
Earlier on Polokwane City suffered a 5-1 loss to the visiting University of Pretoria at the same venue.
In Pietermaritzburg, Mamelodi Sundowns consolidated their second position on the log when they beat Maritzburg City 2-1 at the Harry Gwala Stadium with AmaZulu and Ajax Cape Town settling for a 1-1 draw at the Cape Town Stadium-Backpage TXT