Nervy win for Chiefs

Kaizer Chiefs have put their first win on the board in the DStv Premiership after they defeated Baroka FC 2-1 at the FNB Stadium, though it was an unnecessarily nervy one for the Soweto giants.

For approximately an hour the Amakhosi put on a showcase of attacking football and created chances at will – better finishing would have seen the game wrapped up inside the first 45 minutes. Bakgaga ba ga Mphahlele hung on by their fingernails before coming on strong in the final third of the game, though they were ultimately unable to claim a share of the spoils.

Chiefs should have taken the lead inside the opening 60 seconds, with a rash mistake from Baroka goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke allowing Bernard Parker a glaring chance, but his effort was heroically blocked by defender Vusi Sibiya.

Yet the Amakhosi did not have long to wait before they drew first blood: a crisp ninth-minute passing move put Njabulo Blom free down the right flank and his low cross was confidently turned home by Khama Billiat for 1-0.

Bakgaga almost levelled the game on 16 minutes, with Tshepo Mokhabi firing an out-swinging effort toward goalkeeper Bruce Bvuma’s right-hand upright, but Richard Mbulu got his head on the ball and redirected it onto the crossbar.

Chiefs doubled their lead on 27 minutes through an excellent header from Daniel Cardoso. The defender stooped to meet Sifiso Hlanti’s cross from the left flank and expertly looped it up and beyond the reach of Masuluke to make it 2-0.

The Soweto side could and should have been three or more up at the break, with Masuluke denying them what would have a fortuitous goal with a brilliant back-pedalling save, while Billiat twice pulled shots wide when he had only the goalkeeper to beat and also hit the base of the post with a snap shot – all of which left the game at 2-0 at halftime.

Baroka made a bold triple change at the start of the second half, throwing on Nhlanhla Mgaga, Denwin Farmer and Joslin Kamatuka. Yet Chiefs continued their dominance and great play from the excellent Keagan Dolly teed up Bernard Parker on 53 minutes, but he unselfishly looked to square the ball rather than shoot, and Farmer was able to make a desperate clearance.

Chiefs’ missed chances came back to haunt them just before the hour mark when Baroka got themselves back in the contest: a corner kick from the right dropped perfectly for the unmarked Farmer, who struck a low, left-footed effort into the back of the net to halve the deficit.

By the time the game reached the 80 minute mark, Chiefs had gone completely off the boil and Bakgaga were beginning to exert real pressure. A poor back pass from Eric Mathoho was almost punished, before Bvuma flapped at a cross from the right and was lucky to see Mbulu send his header wide via the outside of the post.

There were further nervy moments for Chiefs, but in the end they did just enough to hold Baroka at bay and pick up their first victory of the 2021-22 season.

The teams will only return to DStv Premiership action after the impending international break, with Baroka at home to Maritzburg United on September 11 and Chiefs away to champions Mamelodi Sundowns the following day.

Kaizer Chiefs (2) 2 (Billiat 9’, Cardoso 27’)

Baroka FC (0) 1 (Farmer 59’)

Kaizer Chiefs:Bvuma, Blom, Mathoho, Cardoso, Hlanti, Nange, Alexander (Akumu 87’), Billiat, Parker, Dolly (Dube 84’), Nurkovic

Baroka:Masuluke, Mphahlele, Sibiya, Shozi (Farmer 46’), Gebhardt, Mokhabi (Kamatuka 46’), Bowali, Kambala (Mgaga 46’), Chauke (Masiya 62’), Makgopa (Monama 83’), Mbulu