KAIZER Chiefs gained revenge for their defeat to Orlando Pirates in the MTN8 final last week with a 2-1 victory over their Soweto rivals in an Absa Premiership match at FNB Stadium yesterday.
First-half goals from Bernard Parker and Siphiwe Tshabalala put the Amakhosi on the road to victory, and their defence stepped up to the mark with a brilliant display in the second half that kept the Buccaneers at bay — at least until right at the death when Happy Jele netted a last-gasp consolation goal.
There was little to separate the teams in the opening quarter hour, but Chiefs gradually took a stranglehold of the midfield and began dictating the pace and rhythm of the game.
The first tangible sign of the Amakhosi’s growing dominance arrived in the 24th minute when Bernard Parker almost got onto the end of a great through ball from Lucky Baloyi, but Moeneeb Josephs got off his line quickly.
Three minutes later the team in gold and black opened the scoring. Parker netted his first league goal for the club, sending a fantastic shot direct from a free kick into the top corner. Josephs got a hand to the ball, but it wasn’t enough to keep it out.
However, Chiefs’ joy was tempered by an injury to Baloyi in the lead-up to the free kick that Parker scored from. The promising youngster was replaced by new signing Willard Katsande.
Vladimir Vermezovic’s team continued to boss the game and in injury time at the end of the first half they took advantage of some slack play from Andile Jali, allowing Josta Dladla to tee up Siphiwe Tshabalala — the Bafana Bafana midfielder buried the ball in the back of the net to make it 2-0.
Pirates replaced injured striker Ndumiso Mabena with holding midfielder Clifford Ngobeni at the start of the second half, and the presence of an extra man in the middle of the park allowed Julio Leal’s side to boss the remainder of the game.
However, Bucs lacked a cutting edge up front and the service for striker Bongani Ndulula left much to be desired. In fact, Chiefs perhaps had the best scoring chances of the second half, particularly Lehlohonolo Majoro, who sliced a close range effort in the 62nd minute.
Yet Pirates continued to plug away at the outstanding Chiefs defence and they finally got some reward for their endeavours right at the death when defender Happy Jele scored with an extraordinary volley after meeting Dikgang Mabalane’s free kick at the near post.
Amakhosi have returned to the top of the standings, now on 12 points from five games, but Mamelodi Sundowns could leapfrog them on Sunday when they host Ajax Cape Town. Pirates remain in fourth on nine points.
Kaizer Chiefs (2) 2 (Parker 27’, Tshabalala 45+3’)
Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Jele 90+4’)
Chiefs: Khune; Tau, Sweswe, Isaacs, Jambo; Dladla, Letsholonyane, Baloyi (Katsande 30’), Tshabalala; Parker (Nale 84’), Majoro (Ngcobo 68’)
Pirates: Josephs; Jele, Sangweni, Lekgwathi, Cloete; Segolela (Mabalane 71’), Manyisa, Jali, Klate (Bester 61’); Mabena (Ngobeni 46’), Ndulula
The rest of the Absa Premiership results are: Platinum Stars 2 v Black Leopards 2, AmaZulu 0 v Moroka Swallows 1, Jomo Cosmos 2 v SuperSport United 2 and Santos 2 v Bloemfontein Celtic 1.-Backpagepix