Chiefs march on to fourth win

Sunday World - - World Of Sport - MARC STRY­DOM At Royal Bafo­keng Sta­dium, Rusten­burg Plat­inum Stars (0) 0 Kaizer Chiefs (0) 2

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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