Stellenbosch hold leaders Amakhosi

Kaizer Chiefs’ Absa Premiership title hopes suffered another blow on Sunday evening when they were held 1-1 at the Orlando Stadium by Stellenbosch.

The Cape side led through Leletu Skelem but the Amakhosi fought back through Lazarous Kambole to secure a share of the spoils and open a six-point gap to nearest chasers Mamelodi Sundowns.

However, should the Brazilians win their game in hand on Monday and then defeat Chiefs when the teams meet on Thursday, then top spot will be shared by the heavyweights with three rounds remaining.

Chiefs looked the likelier scorers through the first half and first threatened through a glancing header from defender Siyabonga Ngezana from a corner kick in the 26th minute, with the effort flashing just wide of the mark.

The hosts were also forced into an unscheduled change just after that chance, with top scorer Samir Nurkovic (left on the bench to protect him from a possible yellow card suspension for their next match) introduced to replace Leonardo Castro, who picked up what appeared to be a hamstring strain.

Stellenbosch claimed the lead against the run of play on 35 minutes, with Skelem scoring from a diving header ahead of Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya. The goal was created by Ashley du Preez, who showed great persistence to create space and whip in a fine ball from the left flank.

A goal down at the break, Chiefs made three changes at the start of the second stanza, with Kgotso Moleko, Lazarous Kambole and Dumisani Zuma coming on from the bench to try and change the game.

Kambole forced a fine save from Stellenbosch goalkeeper Lee Langeveldt in the 57th minute, with the Zambian making space on the edge of the box before unleashing a powerful right-footed effort.

The striker waited another 12 minutes to finally score his first goal and bring Chiefs level: Kambole held off a challenge from Marc van Heerden as he chested down a cross from Reeve Frosler before finishing from close range to make it 1-1.

The Amakhosi had a major let off in the 87th minute when Nyiko Mobbie picked out du Preez with a fine cross, but the forward hit the side netting with his attempt to beat Daniel Akpeyi at the near post.

Chiefs also suffered a late blow when Nurkovic picked up a caution for a rough aerial challenge on Alan Robertson, ruling him out of their next league match.

Chiefs will return to league action on Thursday 27 August with a home match against Mamelodi Sundowns at Orlando Stadium, while Stellenbosch will host Chippa United at Tuks Stadium the following day.

Kaizer Chiefs (0) 1 (Kambole 69’)
Stellenbosch (1) 1 (Skelem 35’)

Chiefs: Akpeyi, Frosler, Cardoso, Ngezana (Agay 76’), Sasman, Ntiya-Ntiya (Moleko 46’), Katsande, Ntshangase (Zuma 46’), Parker, Billiat (Kambole 46’), Castro (Nurkovic 26’)

Stellenbosch: Langeveldt, Mobbie, De Goede, Robertson, van Heerden (Ndlovu 81’), Msengi (Moroole 90+2’), Mthethwa, Sinkala (Bergman 45+2’), Moon (van Rooyen 82’), Skelem (Mbekile 81’), du Preez.