Chiefs march on to fourth win
KAIZER Chiefs rode a first-half storm and flexed their muscle in the second to take a double-goal lead into the second leg of their MTN8 semifinal against Platinum Stars at FNB Stadium in two weeks.
Platinum are known for giving Chiefs a hard time. Allan Freese’s side lost key players in the offseason. But Stars still have plenty of experience and quality, and they still play to a pugnacious and effective game plan that is hard to break down.
On a perfect pitch, two good sides put on a display of cup semifinal football for a good crowd.
Stars enjoyed a period in the first half where their pickaxe attack chipped aggressively at an unusually flaky Chiefs defence.
Amakhosi regained their composure after George Maluleka’s 50th-minute volley, and shouldered Stars out of the game in the second half.
The midfielder added a second just before the end as Amakhosi marched to league and cup win No 4 of 2014/15.
Amakhosi exerted the early pressure. Their best chance came when Mulomowandau Mathoho headed on to the top netting from Mandla Masango’s corner.
But Stars fought back to become the dominant team, and made keeper Itumeleng Khune jump for his money. Between the 20th and 25th minutes, Stars had four good chances at goal.
Vuyo Mere’s free kick from the left was deflected by Tintswalo Tshabalala to force a one-handed save from Khune. The resultant corner fell to Robert N’Gambi, the playmaker’s volley thudding on to the crossbar.
Winger Mduduzi Nyanda’s shot was straight at the keeper, then Ndumiso Mabena’s shot had too much on it, with Khune off his line.
To show Chiefs were still in it, Siboniso Gaxa’s cross found Masango just before the break, but the winger could not get the power on his header to beat keeper Siyabonga Mpontshane.
Amakhosi opened the scoring just after the break. From another good corner by Masango, Kingston Nkhatha’s header was cleared off the line, falling to Maluleka to volley in.
It was from here that Chiefs’ efficiency kicked in. What had been a ferocious Stars attack was dealt with by a defence that snapped into line. The Amakhosi midfield found each other better with their passes.
Amakhosi controlled possession better and probed for openings. Stars continued to run hard, but without their earlier freedom of space.
Maluleka s stunning 89thminute free kick made it 2-0.
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