Kaizer Chiefs recorded a hard-fought 1-0 win over Soweto rivals Orlando Pirates in an Absa Premiership match at FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The victory moves the Amakhosi seven points clear atop the league standings, while the Buccaneers remain third after seeing their six-game winning streak in the league come to an abrupt end.
Pirates started the match brightly – launching several attacks in search of an early goal that would unsettle the visitors.
However, Daniel Akpeyi was on top form in the Amakhosi goal-posts in the opening 20 minutes of the encounter and that would be the case for most of the encounter.
The Nigeria international pulled off a great save to deny the in form Gabadinho Mhango, before keeping out Mthokozisi Dube’s low effort.
Chiefs grew in confidence as the match progressed and they managed to break the deadlock through Lebogang Manyama on the half-hour mark.
The Bafana Bafana attacker hit the back of the net with a powerful rasping shot after weaving his way to the edge of the area.
Pirates then pressed their Soweto rivals in search of the equaliser and the league’s top goalscorer – Mhango – missed the target with a header just before halftime as Chiefs duly carried a narrow lead into the break.
Pirates did most of the attacking after the restart and they had a chance to restore parity after the visitors’ defence was exposed. However, Thembinkosi Lorch, who was sent through on goal, failed to control the ball and ultimately Akpeyi snatched the ball away from him.
Akpeyi continued to frustrate Pirates as he made a triple save denying Lorch, Luvuyo Memela and Vincent Pule as pressure mounted on Chiefs.
The former Chippa United keeper then produced another great save to deny Pirates defender Ntsikelelo Nyauza from close range in what was a man-of-the-match display.
Chiefs ultimately emerged 1-0 winners thanks to Akpeyi’s goalkeeping heroics, with the Amakhosi well on their way to celebrating their 50th year of existence with a league title.
Orlando Pirates (0) 0
Kaizer Chiefs (1) 1 (Manyama 30′)
Orlando Pirates: Sandilands, Jele, Nyauza, Maela, Dube (Mako 71), Motshwari, Makaringe (Dlamini 81′), Pule, Lorch, Memela (Mabasa 81′), Mhango.
Kaizer Chiefs: Akpeyi, Moleko, Frosler, Mathoho, Cardoso, Katsande (Akumu 75′), Maluleka, Baccus, Manyama (Parker 87′), Castro (Billiat 58′), Nurkovic.