Kaizer Chiefs and Polokwane City played to a one-all draw in an Absa Premiership encounter at the FNB Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The visitors opened the score in the 31st minute, before Erick Mathoho equalised five minutes later. Amakhosi played excellently and created numerous chances, especially in the second half, but the winner just didn’t want to come.
Daniel Cardoso made his first start in an official game since joining Kaizer Chiefs during the off-season. The defender struggled for months with a shin problem. He came in at right-back, replacing Siboniso Gaxa.
Amakhosi went into this game on the back of four league wins, while Polokwane had lost their last three matches.
It was therefore Chiefs that looked from the beginning the more confident side on the field, creating two good goal scoring opportunities inside the first ten minutes of play. However, respectively Camaldine Abraw and George Maluleka failed to convert the chances.
To be fair, Polokwane had their moments as well going forward, although they didn’t really threaten goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse too much.
The best chance came in the 26th minute, when a well-taken free kick from Siphiwe Tshabalala bounced right in front of Willard Katsande, about a metre from the Polokwane ‘keeper. But the Zimbabwean, in such fine goal scoring form in recent times, couldn’t find the back of the net this time.
Amazingly, against the run of play, the visitors scored in the 31st minute the game’s opener via Thobani Mncwango. Jabulani Maluleke’s free kick header found Mncwango’s head in the Chiefs box. The Polokwane striker jumped well in front of the Amakhosi defenders, leaving Pieterse no chance.
Five minutes later, however, order was restored when Tshabalala’s corner reached Erick Mathoho, who towered high above the City defence. ‘Tower’ excellently headed the ball past the goalkeeper, 1-1. It was the defender’s third league goal this season and his seventh in all competitions.
The second half started like the first with the home side dominating the play. Katsande again did a fine job and he was ably supported by Lucky Baloyi in the central midfield role.
There was a lovely free kick from Maluleka in the 53st minute, but the ball narrowly flew over the crossbar. Another great opportunity arrived for Bernard Parker about seven minutes later. However, the Polokwane defence was alert, blocking the Chiefs attacker’s efforts with a corner as the sole result.
To try to change the game, coach Steve Komphela brought in William Twala for Tsepo Masilela. It was a positive attacking move of the Amakhosi mentor. As a result of the substitution, Chiefs went to play with three at the back.
Amakhosi were now really going for the winner. Maluleka got another fine chance, but the ball was miraculously kept out of the back of the net by the Polokwane ‘keeper.
About the same happened in the 75th minute. Again Maluleka’s efforts from close range didn’t find the back of the net, but the body of the goalkeeper. The midfielder must have wondered what he had done wrong, which was basically not much. Just a bit of luck was missing.
Six minutes later it looked as if Chiefs finally got the winner. A cross in the box appeared to be worked in goal by substitute Sula Matovu. However, again the Polokwane ‘keeper blocked the ball from going in goal. But Abraw was alert and put the rebound into the back of the net. There was jubilation all over. Then, to the shock of the Chiefs supporters, referee Victor Hlungwani blew the whistle: no goal. The referee judged that the Cameroonian had touched the ball with his arm.
In the end, Chiefs was desperately unlucky not to win this match and get their league winning streak to five matches.
Amakhosi now have 39 points from 21 matches, which is the same amount as the No 2 on the log, Bidvest Wits. The Students, however, have a game in hand.