A brace by Gustavo Paez gave Kaizer Chiefs a 2-0 victory against Maritzburg United in an Absa Premiership encounter at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday night, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.
The home side headed into the game on the back of an impressive goalless draw against Orlando Pirates, coach Fadlu Davids making two changes with Yazid Atouba and Andrea Fileccia.
Steve Komphela’s side went into the clash on the back of a 1-1 draw against the defending champions. One change was made by the visitors, with the injured George Maluleka being replaced by debutant Khotso Malope.
Chiefs got off to a bright start with Gustavo Paez causing the Maritzburg defence a few scares in the early exchanges, but the home side was not too be outdone and began to display their quality as they put Chiefs on the back foot.
The visitors largely had Itumeleng Khune to thank for keeping the scoreline down as Maritzburg peppered Chiefs with shots on target, but the Bafana Bafana number one was equal to every task.
Khune was almost beaten by Atouba’s free kick, which took a wicked deflection off the wall, but the shot-stopper managed to recover and palmed the ball away from danger.
Chiefs took the lead in the 14th minute when Siphiwe Tshabalala’s delicate chip into the area was met by Bhongolethu Jayiya, whose effort in turn fell into the path of Paez, who slotted home.
The Team of Choice played like the team in the lead, with their intricate style of play often splitting the Chiefs defence open.
Khune kept out fine efforts from Evans Rusike and Deolin Mekoa as Chiefs went into the half-time break with a one-goal lead.
Maritzburg upped the tempo in their bid to get an equaliser, but Chiefs held firm and almost added another, courtesy of a brilliant solo effort by Tshabalala, but his effort was blocked by the goalkeeper.
The home side almost equalised in the 55th minute when Mekoa’s shot fell kindly for Rusike who turned the Chiefs defence inside out, but his subsequent effort went straight into Gordinho.
A minute later Atouba’s volley went wide of the effort a minute later as Chiefs continued to look like passengers in the game.
Jayiya’s effort palmed over the crossbar after some fine work down the touchline by Philani Zulu.
Chiefs doubled their lead much against the run of play in the 60th minute when Tshabalala’s corner kick was met by Paez who fumbled the ball across the line.
Eric Mathoho was introduced for Wiseman Meyiwa as Komphela looked to shut up shop. Komphela made another substitution when Malope was forced off through a cramp and Hendrick Ekstein replaced him.
Maritzburg made a double change in the 78th minute as Sheldon Van Wyk and Mohau Mokate came on, with Maritzburg desperately looking to engineer a comeback.
Bernard Parker replaced Jayiya in the 80th minute as Chiefs looked to further extend their lead. The home side did all they could to muster a response to Chiefs’ lead, but they failed to do so as Chiefs ran out 2-0 victors.
In the other Absa Premiership games:
- AmaZulu thumped defending champions Bidvest Wits 3-0 with Rhulani Manzini and a further strike by Michael Morton for the home side.
- Platinum Stars succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against Golden Arrows after Kudakwashe Mahachi converted a late penalty.
- Baroka continued their fine run of form after they secured a 2-0 win against Bloemfontein Celtic courtesy of strikes by Sipho Moeti and Mpho Kgaswane.
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