Maritzburg United played some really good football, but it was Kaizer Chiefs who emerged as 2-0 winners in an Absa Premiership fixture played at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday night.
Chiefs led 1-0 at halftime.
Goals, as the cliché goes, win games. Maritzburg can consider themselves desperately unlucky to have lost this match, but that is the nature of the game. Possession and territory mean nothing, it’s the team that scores that wins. Chiefs have developed an effective counter-attack style of play that capitalises on the opposition’s mistakes.
The game was off to a bright and breezy opening, with Chiefs’ Venezuelan striker Gustavo Paez having an effort saved by Maritzburg goalkeeper Richard Ofori.
At the other end, there was danger too, with Amakhosi goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune required to pull off a great stop to stop a Yazid Atouba free-kick.
In the 14th minute, though, Chiefs took the lead when Paez netted – and they could have doubled their advantage soon after, but Khotso Malope drilled his shot wide.
Having gone behind, Maritzburg were forced to come out and play in search of an equaliser. Evans Rusike had an inviting chance to level, but unfortunately pulled his attempt wide of the target.
Atouba had another opportunity, but was again denied by a good save from Khune.
The Team of Choice continued to pile on the pressure and were again very unlucky when Rusike had a shot brilliantly saved by Khune.
And, moments later, Lebohang Maboe set up a chance for Andrea Fileccia, but the Belgian forward’s attempt was deflected for a corner. And then, five minutes before half-time, It was Khune to the rescue again as he punched clear to stop a long-range shot from Deolin Mekoa.
Maritzburg continued to attack in the early stages of the second half, with Rusike and Atouba again going close. But this Chiefs team is very deadly on the counter and they always threatened when the home side lost possession.
On one such occasion, Bongolethu Jayiya was denied by a good save from Ofori. And, in the 60th minute, the Soweto club made it 2-0, and again it was Paez who got the goal when he made the most of an error in the Maritzburg defence. Chiefs could then have increased their lead further, but defender Daniel Cardoso directed a header agonisingly wide of goal.
Minutes before the end, Maritzburg were awarded a penalty when Lorenzo Gordinho handled the ball in the penalty area. But, again, it was Khune to the fore as he saved a rather soft attempt from Rusike.
– African News Agency (ANA)