SuperSport United (1) 1
Kaizer Chiefs (0) 0
DStv Premiership, Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace, Phokeng
Kaizer Chiefs fell just short of their ambition to keep their CAF Confederation Cup hopes alive after going down 1-0 to SuperSport United in their penultimate DStv Premiership match of the season at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Phokeng on Saturday.
A solitary 41st minute goal by Gumphani Lungu ended Amakhosi’s chances of finishing the campaign in third place. Chiefs remain fourth, while SuperSport move level with Orlando Pirates in second.
The tense early stages showed the importance of the fixture to both teams’ respective aspirations and, despite playing away from home, Amakhosi made the early running and put their hosts under pressure, with some particularly inventive combination play on the right between Reeve Frosler, Dillan Solomons and teenager, Mduduzi Shabalala. Christian Saile, too, was a constant menace, making clever runs to keep the SuperSport defence occupied.
Clear chances were few and far between, and only a couple of Siyabonga Ngezana headers from corners caused any alarm to Ricardo Goss in the home team’s goal.
Gradually, SuperSport gained some traction in the match and on 36 minutes Brandon Petersen was called upon to produce an outstanding reflex save to turn a Bradley Grobler header away for a corner to keep the game scoreless.
Matsatsantsa, however, took the lead around five minutes before half-time through Zambian forward, Lungu. A deflected cross from the left looped across the Amakhosi penalty area. Coming off his line to clear, Petersen mis-timed his punch under pressure from Grobler and the ball fell to Lungu, who lobbed the ball into an empty net.
It was a cruel blow to go into the break 1-0 down.
As expected, SuperSport sat deeper in the second half, not wanting to risk too much in protection of their lead.
Amakhosi tried vainly to find a way back into the game. Twice, Saile came within a whisker of connecting inside the six-yard box with dangerous crosses from the left, first from Frosler and then from substitute Kgaogelo Sekgota. Skipper Yusuf Maart fired a shot straight at Goss and another substitute, Samkelo Zwane, flicked a near-post corner into the side netting, as the shadows began to lengthen in the autumn sunshine.
Sadly, the much-desired goal did not come and on this occasion, Amakhosi leave the Platinum City empty-handed.
Next Saturday sees the conclusion of the league season and Amakhosi will be looking to close out the campaign with a bang in front of their own magnificent fans when they host Cape Town City at FNB stadium, kicking off at 15:00.
Kaizer Chiefs: Petersen (1), Hlanti (23), Dove (2) (Kwinika (4) 58’), Ngezana (30), Frosler (39), Sithebe (6) (Zwane (37) 77’), Maart © (8), Solomons (18), Shabalala (42) (Sekgota (14) 58’), Du Preez (9), Basomboli (21) (Bimenyimana (28) 87’)
Subs not used: Bvuma (44); Nj Ngcobo (27), Dube (29), Mashiane (19), Matlou (22)
Coach: Arthur Zwane
SuperSport Utd: Goss (20); Ditlhokwe (6), Hlatswayo (3), Phillips (27), Bhasera © (14), Maseko (40) (Nhlapo (18) 90+3), Maswanganyi (28) (Donn (26) 89’), Ndlovu (15), Magerman (23), Grobler (7) (Gabuza (13) 71’), Lungu (17)
Subs not used: Chigova (1); Ngoma (11), Lepasa (10), Webber (12), Niang (29), Mbatha (16),
Coach: Gavin Hunt