Kaizer Chiefs (0) 1
Solomons (pen) 63
Richards Bay (0) 0
Despite playing for more than an hour with 10 men, Kaizer Chiefs returned to winning ways with a gritty 1-0 victory over Richards Bay F.C in their Dstv Premiership clash at a blustery Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban on Saturday evening. Notwithstanding Yusuf Maart’s first half red card, Amakhosi battled commendably and were rewarded in the 63rd minute when Dillon Solomons scored the game’s only goal from the penalty spot.
Going into the match, Coach Arthur Zwane made four changes to his line-up, giving Kgaogelo Sekgota, Njabulo Ncgobo, Nkosingiphile Ncgobo and Brandon Petersen their first starts of the season.
Fortunately, Khama Billiat was able to overcome a bout of flu to take his place up front, with Ashley Du Preez unavailable through injury. Also absent were brand new signings, Edmilson Dove and Bonfils-Caleb Bimenyimana who are awaiting their work permits.
From the opening whistle Chiefs looked sharper and more focused than against Sundowns. Their passing was neat and crisp and when, out of possession, closed down and won the ball back quickly. Richards Bay could barely get out of their own half as Chiefs, with the strong breeze at their backs, launched waves of attacks.
In the 4th minute, skipper Keagan Dolly fired a sighter high and wide, as did Sithebe a few minutes later.
Chiefs came closer to opening the scoring in the 13th minute when Frosler slid Billiat in behind the defence but the angle was very tight and the goalkeeper kept it out.
At the other end, Solomons pulled off a brilliantly timed tackle on the overlapping Msani to snuff out a dangerous Richards Bay break.
On 20 minutes, Sekgota went down in the box under a challenge from Mabaso but the well-placed referee saw nothing worthy of pointing to the spot. From the resulting corner Kwinika blazed over when he should have hit the target from close range.
Chiefs were completely dominant until an incident after half an hour changed the tide of the match. Under pressure from another Amakhosi attack the ball was hacked out of Richards Bay’s defence and as it held up in the wind, fell perfectly for Barns who found himself clean through on goal. Maart impeded him as he passed and, as the last man, was doomed to an early bath for preventing a clear attempt on goal. Katleho Makateng failed to make anything of the free kick that followed.
Zwane’s side continued to be positive and only a superb block by Sibusiso Mthetwa denied Solomons a goal as he met Reeve Frosler’s cross.
There was a sense of déjà vu two minutes before half-time as Petersen dallied on the ball in front of his goal and was caught in possession by Ndiviwe Mdabuka who fed Makateng. Luckily for Petersen, the Lesotho international striker inexplicably blasted the ball wide with an open goal at his mercy.
With that, the referee called time on a goalless first half.
Sensing an opportunity to take a more adventurous approach, Natal Rich Boys coach, Pitso Dladla sent on forwards Yanela Mbuthuma and Luvoyo Memela, while Zwane responded by shoring up his midfield, replacing Nkosingiphile Ngcobo with Njabulo Blom on 50 minutes.
To their credit, Chiefs, playing a man light into a stiff breeze, hung in and defended as a unit, frustrating their opponents and occasionally breaking dangerously. One such foray saw Dolly magically leave three defenders in his wake before setting up Siyethemba Sithebe, whose shot under pressure flew narrowly over the crossbar.
On the hour mark came the decisive moment, Richards Bay defender, Gumede, hesitated as Dolly played the ball into the box and then clipped the heels of the alert Sekgota, who had nipped in front of him to steal the ball.
Solomons, showing no sign of nerves, coolly despatched the spot kick beyond Magoola to send the Amakhosi faithful into unbridled jubilation.
Richards Bay’s best, and only, chance came with 20 minutes remaining but Petersen redeemed his earlier mistake with a remarkable save low at his far post to keep out Sanele Barns’ goalbound header.
The ebullient crowd made their feelings known when Zwane sent Siyabonga Ngezana on for the final 15 minutes and the defender’s first involvement was to be booked for time-wasting at a throw in moments after taking the field. However, in trying circumstances Ngezana stood firm at the back and played his part as Chiefs repelled any danger that came their way.
Deep in stoppage time, Mbuthuma glanced a header just wide of Petersen’s post but with that went Richards Bay’s last opportunity to salvage something from the game and Amakhosi emerged as worthy winners.
Once again, Kaizer Chiefs’ Durban home fans showed their loyalty in person as thousands filled Moses Mabhida and the familiar roar of support was heard constantly throughout the game.
Understandably, fans of the Phefeni Glamour Boys have become accustomed to free-flowing, exciting football but tonight they demonstrated their appreciation for a supremely disciplined performance against a team with a numerical advantage and will go home with a victory to cherish.
Man of the Match:
Stat of the match: In a vast defensive improvement from last week, it took 70 minutes for Richards Bay to register an effort on target, their only one of the night.
Next up: Chiefs next face Cape Town City away on Tuesday 23 August at 19h30.
Chiefs XI: Peterson (1), Solomons (18), Nj. Ngcobo (27), Kwinika (4), Frosler (39), Sithebe (6), Maart (8), Nk. Ngcobo (12) (Blom 50), Dolly © (10), Sekgota (14) (Mahlatsi 84), Billiat (11) (Ngezana 78)
Subs not used: Bvuma (44), Mashiane (19), Alexander (17), Nange (24), Matlou (22), Radebe (33),
Coach: Arthur Zwane
Richards Bay XI: Magoola (80), Barns (30), Mabua, Mthethwa (5), Mathebula (12), Mhlongo (21) (Mdabuka (65), Msani (7), Mabaso (6), Zungu (50), Gumede (33) (Memela 45), Makateng (27) (Mbuthuma 45)
Subs not used: Jacobs (16), Maphathe (2), Ncanana (19), Mthembu (20), Nyauza (34), Gumede (13).
Coach: Pitso Dladla