Kaizer Chiefs (1) 3
(Mmodi 4’ 59’, Castillo 87’)
AmaZulu (0) 0
FNB Stadium, Soweto
A brace from Pule Mmodi and a late Edson Castillo header gave Kaizer Chiefs an emphatic 3-0 victory over AmaZulu in an entertaining, if slightly niggly, DStv Premiership clash at FNB Stadium on Saturday evening.
Playing in front of their home fans at the Calabash for the first time this season, Amakhosi bagged their maiden three-pointer of the campaign in consummate style, illustrating clear indications that coach Molefi Ntseki’s methods are being applied better and better each game.
The individual combinations and overall structure were evident throughout the match, both in possession and without the ball.
Both of Mmodi’s goals were created by sublime, incisive football, showcasing the abundant talent that resides within the Amakhosi ranks.
The build-up to the opening goal was exquisite. Barely three minutes in, S’fiso Hlanti’s perfectly timed pass released Ashley Du Preez clear down the left wing. His cut-back was met by Tebogo Potsane, whose shot was blocked, but fell into the path of Mmodi who tucked the ball away to give Amakhosi a flying start.
The Spanish influence of AmaZulu coach Pablo Franco has seen AmaZulu adopt a possession-based style using the patient approach to probe until openings present themselves.
However, they found Chiefs in no mood to yield any advantage they had acquired and defended their goal with the tactical discipline coach Molefi Ntseki has been instilling in them since taking charge.
Notwithstanding a surfeit of possession, Amakhosi kept Usuthu at arm’s length for the entire first half, restricting them to a solitary Tshepang Moremi half-chance on the stroke of half-time, which Brandon Petersen blocked at his near post.
At the same time, the pace of the Chiefs attack was a constant concern for the high AmaZulu defensive line with Du Preez in particular looking dangerous.
A brief altercation occurred late in the half, when Amakhosi reacted to a couple of forceful tackles in quick succession but after some pushing and shoving, calm was restored and the match resumed.
The half ended with Chiefs a goal to the good.
As the teams emerged for the second half, it was Chiefs who took the early initiative, with TT Ditlhokwe heading narrowly wide on 48 minutes, before Mmodi doubled his and Amakhosi’s tally with another slice of mouthwatering impudence.
Mmodi started the move himself, sliding Du Preez into space down the left. The striker fed the ball into Potsane, who produced a cheeky backheel into the path of Mmodi, who had followed up and, with defenders flying in to tackle him from both sides, managed to toe-poke the ball through the narrowest of gaps into the net.
With Usuthu pushing for a goal to get back into the match the game opened up and at times became a little disjointed. However, the hard work of midfielders, Yusuf Maart, Mdu Mdantsane and Castillo protected the defence admirably and frustrated the AmaZulu efforts to pin them back.
Five minutes from full time, Castillo saw his diving header pushed around the post by Usuthu goalkeeper, Veli Mothwa but, from the resultant corner the powerful Venezuelan rose to glance a header into the net to complete the Glamour Boys’ biggest victory over AmaZulu for almost a decade and moves them up to 11th position on the fledgling DStv Premiership table.
This result will take Amakhosi into Wednesday night’s away trip to face Stellenbosch filled with confidence of adding a further three points to their total and leave them well primed to take on Mamelodi Sundowns in the first leg of the MTN8 semifinal next weekend.
Kaizer Chiefs: Petersen © (1), Hlanti (23), Ditlhokwe (24), Msimango (25), Kwinika (4), Maart (8) (Radebe (33) 90+1’), Castillo (17), Mdantsane (3) (Matlou (22) 76’), Potsane (11)(Basomboli (21) 76’), Mmodi (13) (Nj Ngcobo (27) 86’), Du Preez (9) (Solomons (18) 86’)
Subs not used: Khune (32); Zwane (37), Mashiane (19), Shabalala (42)
Coach: Molefi Ntseki
AmaZulu: Mothwa (44), Gumede (17) (Letsoalo (28) 83’), Hanamub (14), Mphahlele (23), Mobara (2), Malepe (4)(Kwem (9) 72’), Brooks (18) (Ndlovu (30) 72’), Jooste (26)(Maluleka (12) 72’), Moremi (19), Ngema (20), Ntuli (7)(Mabiliso (3) 83’)
Subs not used: Mzimela (1), Zulu (24), Hlangabeza (6), Ekstein (27),
Coach: Pablo Franco