Kaizer Chiefs beat Maritzburg United 3-2 in a highly entertaining Absa Premiership encounter at the FNB Stadium on Saturday evening. Willard Katsande (from a penalty) and Camaldine Abraw (header) scored for Chiefs in the second half, while Lorenzo Gordinho scored the winner (also from a header).
Siyanda Xulu and Lucky Baloyi started, replacing Erick Mathoho and Reneilwe Letsholonyane, who had both received against Golden Arrows on Tuesday their fourth yellow card and, with it, automatically a one-game suspension.
Xulu’s last start was in the MTN8 final against Ajax Cape Town.
There was an early goal for the home side, just five minutes after the referee had blown for the game to start.
Abraw was brought down in the Maritzburg box, which resulted in a penalty. The Togolese striker had been put through one-on-one with goalkeeper Glenn Verbauwhede by a wonderfully weighted pass from Siphiwe Tshabalala.
Katsanda, as usual in recent games, positioned himself behind the ball and slotted it easily past Verbauwhede, 1-0
Chiefs continued to be the better team, creating various chances to extend the lead.
On the other hand, Maritzburg also got a few good opportunities to equalise.
Baloyi did well in midfield, often joining in attack and being the link between the midfielders and the two attackers, George Maluleka and Abraw.
Maluleka again worked his socks off, being a continuous nuisance for the Maritzburg defenders.
Amakhosi finally got another goal in the 37th minute. George Lebese delivered a superb cross from the left, after which Abraw finished with a well-directed header, 2-0.
Five minutes later, however, Maritzburg managed to counter with a goal of its own, thanks to Thansanqa Teyise.
It was major disappointment, especially as the goal fell so close to the break.
Another set-back was Lebese having to go off with a light injury. He was replaced by William Twala.
More bad news arrived just after halftime when Evans Rusike equalised in the 48th minute.
That was the moment that coach Steve Komphela decided to bring on Hendrick Ekstein for Maluleka.
The make matters worse, Xulu had to be stretchered off in the 62nd minute due to a concussion sustained in an aerial battle. He was replaced by Bernard Parker.
The game went up and down with both teams creating good opportunities to score. It was highly entertaining to watch from a neutral spectator’s point of view, but not when being an Amakhosi. Maritzburg was given too much space to attack.
In the end, Chiefs managed to score the winner in injury time. Tshabalala’s corner kick was brilliantly headed in by Gordinho, rising high above the Maritzburg defence.
Overall, Amakhosi deserved the win. Chiefs are still in fourth position on the Absa Premiership log, having 32 points from 18 games.
Gordinho was selected as the Man of the Match, his third this season. It was another fine performance for the young defender.
Chiefs face Bidvest Wits in an Absa Premiership fixture at the Bidvest Stadium on Tuesday, 9 February (kick-off is at 19:30).