Late goal keeps Chiefs in race
Late goal keeps Chiefs in race

Posted in News on May 07, 2001.

Kaizer Chiefs turned the Premier League championship right on its head with a stunning 1-0 victory overt defending champions Sundowns at the Loftus Stadium on Monday night and in the process came back into contention as well.

An own goal by Sundowns goalkeeper Paul Evans in an attempt to keep out a strike by Marco Mthembu during referee Daniel Bennett's optional time handed Amakhosi three priceless points that took their season's tally to 50 and within striking range.

Although they remained rooted on fourth position behind third positioned Jomo Cosmos, Orlando Pirates and defending champions Sundowns, they are now eight points adrift of the leaders Sundowns and have five more games to wrap up their programme.

But there is no doubt that their triumph has thrown the league championship wide open with Sundowns and Pirates meeting next Wednesday in another crucial match that could have a serious bearing on the championship race.

It has now developed into a three-horse race with either Sundowns, Pirates and now Chiefs all poised to snatch the marathon championship provided none of them falters in the run-in, although that is unlikely to happen as both Sundowns and Chiefs still have to face Pirates.

And whoever wins the duels between Pirates against Chiefs and Pirates

against Sundowns, will more than likely emerge as favourites to lift the championship trophy that has provided too many ups and downs and likely to be decided on the last day.

It was sweet revenge for Chiefs who were eliminated by Sundowns from the lucrative Bob Save Super Bowl only nine days ago and on the night, truly deserved the three points after threatening on countless occasions throughout the night.

"I want to congratulate Neil Tovey for the wonderful job he has done with Sundowns," Chiefs coach Muhsin Ertugral showered the Sundowns caretaker coach with praise at the end of the match.

"I think he deserves to be appointed head coach at Sundowns next year if Sundowns continues to play as they did. But, I also think this victory brings us right back into contention and it appears as if the championship will go down to the wires."

Although slightly disappointed, Tovey was gracious in defeat and refused to

apportion blame or point an accusing finger at his goalkeeper Paul Evans

for the fatal error, which gifted Chiefs the goal in optional time.

"He pulled of some world class saves," said Tovey. "And one that was not

supposed to go in, ends up going in behind him and I will not blame him for

that, because that's football and sometimes it can be very cruel.

"However, we believe its not over yet. We will bounce back once again and

we are not going to throw in the towel, but will keep fighting until the

final match of the season."

Twice Mthembu and Arthur Zwane fluffed easiest chances to have scored from

less than six meters but on all three occasions, elected to hoof their

attempts over the bar much to the frustration of their supporters.

Sundowns also created a handful of chances but found Brian Baloyi in an

uncompromising mood as he dealt superbly with everything they threw at him

throughout an entertaining match that kept spectators enthralled throughout.

Papi Mbele received a glorious chance but Baloyi threw his body onto his

path and in the 44th minute, Raphael Chukwu, who was kept quiet by Nhlanhla

Khubeka, brought the best out of Baloyi with a rasping shot cracked on the run.

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