|Siphiwe Tshabalala and Siphesihle Ndlovu © Backpagepix
Kaizer Chiefs have moved up to second place on the Absa Premiership log after claiming a 2-1 away win over Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday night.
The Amakhosi secured their victory thanks to goals from Willard Katsande and Siphiwe Tshabalala, taking them to 30 points from 17 matches – one point adrift of leaders Cape Town City, who won their derby match against Ajax Cape Town earlier in the evening.
The start of the match was delayed by 30 minutes due to inclement weather, and when it did get underway the players were soon soaked by a cloudburst.
Despite the less-than-ideal conditions, there was no shortage of quality attacking football from both teams, who seemed determined to put on a good show for the capacity crowd in Pietermaritzburg.
Chiefs created the better chances – with Joseph Malongoane and Ramahlwe Mphahlele guilty of missing out on clear scoring opportunities – but Maritzburg stretched their opposing goalkeeper to a greater degree.
Itumeleng Khune was forced to make a few notable saves in the first half, the best of which saw him punch away a curling shot from Kwanda Mngonyama which looked destined for the back of the net in the 19th minute.
The first half finished goalless, but it took only five minutes of the second stanza for the deadlock to be broken. George Maluleka provided a fine delivery from a set piece which found Willard Katsande at the back post – the midfielder scored with a stooping header to put the Amakhosi 1-0 up.
Maritzburg fought back to level the game at 1-1 in the 73rd minute. Siphesihle Ndlovu teed up Mohau Mokate, who showed great composure and technique to score past Itumeleng Khune’s right hand with a shot which had very little back-lift.
However, Chiefs reclaimed the lead with 10 minutes of regulation time remaining. A sweeping movement was wrapped up by Mphahlele providing a cut-back from the right by-line and Siphiwe Tshabalala easily steered home a shot to make it 2-1.
Maritzburg created one great chance to equalise in injury time, with Mngonyama’s cross from the right picking out Brian Onyango, but the defender put his headed effort wide of the mark.
Maritzburg United (0) 1 (Mokate 73’)
Kaizer Chiefs (0) 2 (Katsande 50’, Tshabalala 80’)
Maritzburg: Mpandle, Onyango, Shandu (Saal 88’), Shabalala, Weidlich, Mekoa (van Wyk 70’), Ndlovu, Mngomyama, Maboe, Mokate, Rusike (Moon 57’)
Chiefs: Khune, Mphalele, Gordinho, Mathoho, Khumalo, Katsande, Maluleka, Molangoane (Twala 66’), Tshabalala, Chirambadare (Paez 61’), Parker