KAIZER Chiefs bounced back from their loss in the Telkom Knockout final in midweek with a 2-1 win over Absa Premiership log-leaders Bidvest Wits at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday evening.
Goals from Willard Katsande and Lorenzo Gordinho saw the Amakhosi cut the gap between themselves and Wits to just five points, while also moving them into third place on the log – though Black Aces need only a draw in the late game against Ajax Cape Town to reclaim the position.
The Clever Boys remain top of the log after suffering just their second league loss, but they will be removed from the summit on goal difference if Mamelodi Sundowns defeat Orlando Pirates on Sunday.
After an evenly-matched opening quarter of an hour, Chiefs opened the scoring from the penalty spot. Midfielder Willard Katsande converted the penalty – doing what Siphiwe Tshabalala and Camaldine Abraw could not in midweek in the Telkom Knockout final – after the Togolese striker had been fouled in the box.
Yet the home side’s lead was relatively short-lived, with Wits equalising in the 33rd minute through a route-one goal which saw Moeneeb Josephs’s long ball catch out the Chiefs’ defence and allow Daine Klate to easily lob goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse to make it 1-1.
Chiefs suffered a further blow late in the half when forward Bernard Parker was forced off the pitch with a knee injury. George Maluleka came off the bench to replace him shortly before the interval.
The second half was as tightly contested as the first, with both teams having only glimpses of the goal for the first 20 minutes or so.
Wits then had a strong appeal for a penalty turned down by the referee after Siyabonga Nhlapo appeared to be tripped by Morgan Gould when trying to get onto Sibusiso Vilakazi’s through ball.
With 20 minutes to play the Clever Boys created the first clear scoring chance of the second half when Phakamani Mahlambi used his pace to get in behind the Chiefs defence and played a short pass for Vilakazi, whose shot to the near post was turned away by Pieterse.
With Wits looking set to take control of the game, they suddenly found themselves behind in the 73rd minute when Lorenzo Gordinho scored his first official goal for Chiefs.
The young defender turned the ball home on the goal line after Moeneeb Josephs could only get his fingertips to a looping header from Gould at a corner kick.
That proved to be the decisive moment of the match, with Wits dominating the remainder of the game but unable to find a way past the home side’s resilient defence. – ANA