SANTOS scored a significant victory in their quest to avoid relegation with a 2-1 win over Kaizer Chiefs in an Absa Premiership match at the Athlone Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The hosts scored two goals in two minutes after the restart through Salmaan King and Eleazar Rodgers, with Chiefs ensuring a nervous finish after George Lebese pulled one back.
The game was off to a fast paced start, with play flowing from end to end.
Chiefs though had the upper hand in terms of carrying more of a threat in their build up play, with Siphiwe Tshabalala influential during the opening 15 minutes.
There were several efforts on goal from the AmaKhosi, but the likes of Jimmy Jambo and Lehlohonolo Majoro sent their efforts wide, while Tshabalala’s two shots were saved by Pa Demba Touray.
The home side were given very little opportunity to mount attacks of their own, as they found their midfield severely pressed by Chiefs.
This meant that the likes of King and Vuyisile Wana rarely linked up with front runners Erwin Isaacs and Rodgers.
With six minutes to go to the break Lucky Baloyi teed himself up nicely for a shot, but his effort struck a defender. The ball fell to Majoro, but his attempt to squeeze the ball in at the near post did not overly test Touray.
The second half burst to life straight after the restart as King put the Cape side ahead after 46 minutes, running in from deep to head home Thabiso Ntloana’s cross.
And just a minute later it was 2-0 as Tyren Arendse played in Rodgers, who did superbly to finish with a low angled shot into the far corner; 2-0 Santos after 47 minutes.
Chiefs attempted to get back into the game immediately afterwards, but despite putting the Peoples’ Team on the back foot, they were unable to create any real chances as the final ball into the box failed to split the home defence.
Santos were subsequently able to adopt a counter-attacking policy which saw King and Wana getting a couple of half chances.
Chiefs were, however, let back into the game with 20 minutes to go when a slip by Wayne Arendse allowed Lebese to nip in and score.
The goal spurred the visiting side back in to life and Santos soon found themselves facing wave after wave of attacks.
But in the end Chiefs were not able to force the equaliser as some determined and not always pretty defence enabled the home side to get over the line, resulting in new coach Mart Nooij getting his tenure off to a winning start.
Santos (0) 2 (King 46, Rodgers 47’)
Kaizer Chiefs (0) 1 (Lebese 71’)
Santos: (4-4-2) Touray, Ntloana, W Arendse, Ariweriyai, Skippers, Wana (Segalo 88‘), Morris, T Arendse (Kefile 81‘), King, Rodgers (Eugene 93‘), Isaacs
Chiefs: (4-4-2) Khune, Tau, Mashamaite, Zvasiya, Jambo; Baloyi, Katsanda, Nale, Tshabalala, Majoro (Motaung 56‘), Parker (Lebese 61’).
The rest of this weekend’s league results are Celtic 1 v Moroka Swallows 1, Black Leopards 1 v AmaZulu 4, SuperSport United 2 v Ajax Cape Town 1, Maritzburg United 1 v Mamelodi Sundowns 0, Golden Arrows 3 v Jomo Cosmos 1 and Orlando Pirates 0 v BidVest Wits 0.–Backpagepix