|Siphiwe Tshabalala © Backpagepix
Goals from Simphiwe Tshabalala, Bernard Parker and Willard Katsande gave Kaizer Chiefs a 3-1 win over Free State Stars in the Absa Premiership at FNB Stadium on Tuesday night.
The victory elevates the Soweto giants to the third spot with 27 points from 16 league matches so far, while Rooi Mahamutsa netted a consolation for the visitors.
The highly anticipated encounter got off to a bright start with both camps exchanging the ball possession in the opening first 10 minutes.
However, it was the visitors who threatened in the 15th minute after sharing great passes into the box, allowing Mohammed Anas to take a shot which went narrowly wide after a block by Lorenzo Gordinho.
Amakhosi quickly responded with a fine free kick finish from Tshabalala, as he scored by beating goalkeeper Thela Ngobeni on his top left corner away from the d-line.
As they dominated the proceedings, Chiefs received a penalty towards the half-hour mark after Edmore Chirambadare was fouled by Ngobeni in the box. Parker doubled their lead at the second attempt after Ngobeni initially saved the penalty.
With three minutes to go, Serame Letsoaka's men nearly pulled one back when Anas beat his marker in the box only to see his attempt coming off the woodwork from close range, Itumeleng Khune was beaten.
Ea Lla Koto came better in the second stanza as they spent more time in the opposite half, with Mbuyiselo Thethani's deflected shot saved by Khune in the 50th minute.
The hosts managed to shift gears and Katsande showed composure in the box to make it 3-0. He beat two defenders before easily passing the ball into Ngobeni's left corner.
With 17 minutes to go, the Bethlehem-based side received a set piece on the edge of the box and Mahamutsa pulled one back in the 73rd minute with a well struck low shot.
In the last five minutes, Steve Komphela's men continued to probe four their fourth goal and George Maluleka produced a fine save from Ngobeni, who punched the ball away for a corner.
In the end, the hosts held onto their lead, leaving Stars sitting at the 14th spot with as many points from 16 matches.
Kaizer Chiefs (2) 3 (Tshabalala 18', Parker 32' pen, Katsande 64')
Free State Stars (0) 1 (Mahamutsa 73')
Kaizer Chiefs: Khune, Mphahlele, Mathoho, Gordinho, Khumalo, Katsande, Maluleka (Baloyi 85'), Tshabalala, Chirambadare (Paez 58'), Molongoane, Parker (Twala 79')
Free State Stars: Ngobeni, Mbhele, Okumu, Tlhone, Mahamutsa, Dlamini (Nono 57'), Venter (Potsane 68'), Vilakazi, Makhaula, Thethani, Anas