Posted in Match Report, News, Team News on Feb 05, 2023.
TS Galaxy 0
Kaizer Chiefs 0
At Mbombela Stadium
Arthur Zwane knew coming into the game against TS Galaxy just how stubborn the defence that his team needed to breach was - and much as they huffed and puffed, Amakhosi were unable to blow the Galaxy rearguard down, as this DStv Premiership clashed ended goalless.
Amakhosi fans flocked to Nelspruit’s Mbombela Stadium in droves from around the country, with well over 30 000 predominantly Gold and Black-clad fans making their way up north for this fixture.
It was a cagey, cautious start from both sides who like a pair of boxers sussed each other out and cautiously looked for kinks in each other’s armour in the early stages of the game.
The game burst into life in the 10th minute when, following a patient build-up, the ball fell to Keagan Dolly who played a crisp one-two with Caleb Bimenyimana before powerfully side-footing a shot which was snaking inside the TS Galaxy far post until it was brilliantly saved by the Rockets’ Bosnia and Herzegovina keeper, Vasilije Kolak, diving to his right.
In the 28th minute, Ashley du Preez spurned a fantastic opportunity, shooting just wide when he had a good sight at Kolak’s goal.
In a move initiated by du Preez himself, he played the ball inside to Dolly, who in turn played it forward to Mdu Shabalala. The teenager showed fantastic vision to let it run on past a flat-footed Galaxy defence and invitingly into the path of the overlapping du Preez, who could not find an accurate finish when coming eyeball to eyeball with Kolak.
In the 38th minute, S’fiso Hlanti found himself in an advanced position up the pitch, letting rip with a left-footed shot which was on target, though saved comfortably enough by Kolak.
Galaxy were largely ineffective in the first half, their best attempts coming from former Chiefs captain Bernard Parker’s set pieces at corners and free kicks, which were well dealt with by Amakhosi keeper Brandon Petersen.
The Rockets brought on their new Venezuelan signing, Yaimil Medina Rodriquez, as an attacking change at half time as the sides started the second half still deadlocked.
There was a flash point in the 53rd minute of the game when Galaxy defender Marks Munyai was sent off by referee Olani Kwinda after stamping on the ankle of Bimenyimana, receiving his second yellow card, though the foul could easily have warranted a straight red card on its own.
Bimenyimana needed to be replaced following the incident, with Congo striker Christian Saile taking his place on the pitch for just his second Chiefs appearance.
In tbe 64th minute, Galaxy were fortunate to not be reduced to nine men as Pogisa Sanoka first fouled Shabalala, then appeared to aim a head butt at an onrushing Siyabonga Ngezana, but the referee calmed proceedings and deemed it not necessary to take any action against Sanoka.
It was Chiefs keeper Petersen who was in fact booked in the same incident, after running the length of the field to quell proceedings, only to be cautioned for his efforts.
In the 72nd minute, Siyethemba Sithbe let rip with a shot that went just wide and Saile glanced a header wide with just over 10 minutes to go, as Chiefs threw everything into snatching a late winner.
It was not to be, though, with Galaxy captain and centre back Given Msimango marshalling his defence well to secure a point and an umpteenth goalless draw of the season for the Rockets.
It will be a case of another two points dropped for coach Zwane, who will again bemoan the lack of cutting edge in the opposition third that has been lacking for Amakhosi since the start of the year.
He will, however, be proud of the solid defensive display from his side in keeping opponents - who had scored four goals in their previous game - largely quiet throughout this game.
A big positive was Zitha Kwinika’s assured display in the heart of defence following his return from injury, while Amakhosi wing backs Ngezana and Hlanti were also sprightly in producing good displays down the flanks.
Chiefs remain in fifth place on the DStv Premiership standings, while Galaxy remain solidly in midtable after the stalemate in Mbombela.
Chiefs XI: Petersen (1); Hlanti (23), Dove (2), Ngezana (30), Kwinika (4), Maart (8), Sithebe (6), Shabalala (42) Sekgota 73, Dolly © (10) Matlou 90, Du Preez (9), Bimenyimana (28) Saile 57
Subs: Khune (32); Mathoho (3), Nj Ngcobo (27), Nange (24), Zwane (37), Matlou (22), Sekgota (14), Saile Basomboli (21), Duba (36)
Coach: Arthur Zwane
Galaxy XI: Kolak (32); Munyai (23), Sanoka (3), Nyama (11), Msimango © (5), Hlongwane (10), Mbunjana (8), Parker (17), Mongae (7), Traore (9), S. Mahlangu (27),
Subs: van der Linde (1); M. Mahlangu (4), Phohlongo (28), Mlambo (20), Mere (30), Mathekgane (13), Medina Rodriguez (37), Radebe (14), ), Sebelebele (49)
Coach: Sead Ramovic