Goals by Gustavo Paez and Philani Zulu saw Kaizer Chiefs ease to a 2-0 victory over Free State Stars in their Absa Premiership encounter, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.
Giovanni Solinas made a whopping seven changes to his side that thumped Cape Town City 4-1 in their last league encounter, with Godfrey Walusimbi, Mario Booysen, Kgotso Moleko, George Maluleka, Hendrick Ekstein, Zulu and Paez were all handed starting-berths.
Luc Eymael’s side headed into the clash on the back of a four game winless streak in the league, with their last victory coming on matchday two against bottom-of-the-table Maritzburg United.
Absa Premiership: Free State Stars vs. Kaizer Chiefs
Starting 11: Khune ©, Walusimbi, Ngezana, Booysen, Moleko, Katsande, Maluleka, Ekstein, Zulu, Páez, Billiat
Subs: Vries, Hadebe, Moon, Jayiya, Mahlasela, Malope, Andrianarimanana
Head Coach: Giovanni Solinas#HailTheChief
— Kaizer Chiefs (@KaizerChiefs) September 18, 2018
The clash got off to a scrappy start as both sides struggled to find their feet in the opening exchanges.
Chiefs were the first team to settle, but the home side looked the more dangerous of the two particularly through the pace of left-winger Yusuf Jappie, who caused the visitors a few scares early on.
Amakhosi opened the scoring in the 25th minute when a smart interchange of play between Khama Billiat and Paez saw the latter slot the ball past the on-rushing goalkeeper.
Stars almost went level on the half-hour mark when a mix up between debutant Booysen and Itumeleng Khune saw the goalkeeper fail to smother the ball, but the Chiefs defence managed to clear their lines before Judas Moseamedi could pull the trigger.
Solinas’ side doubled their lead in the 24th minute with a swift attacking move as Ekstein’s through ball found Zulu who netted his second goal in as many games.
Chiefs went into the half-time break with a commanding 2-0 lead.
The home side looked to claw their way back into the game as Eymael opted to bring on towering forward Eleazor Rodgers for Moseamedi.
Content with their two-goal lead, Chiefs looked to see off the game by dominating the possession stakes.
Stars came close to scoring in the 69th minute when Goodman Dlamini waltzed past two Chiefs defender, but his subsequent effort hit the side netting.
Goalscorer Paez made way for Ryan Moon in the 70th minute, while Kabelo Mahlasela made a late cameo as Chiefs looked to add to their tally.
New Chiefs signing Adriamirado ‘Dax’ Adrianarimanana was also brought on late for his official Chiefs debut.
In the end, it proved a routine victory for a new-look Chiefs side who ran out comfortable 2-0 victors.
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