Kaizer Chiefs beat Chippa United 1-0 in a crucial Absa Premiership encounter at Orlando Stadium last night. The winner was scored by Khama Billiat, helping to keep Amakhosi at the top of the league table.
Itumeleng Khune was back between the posts, as Daniel Akpeyi got concussed in Sunday’s match against Bidvest Wits and will need time to fully recover.
Another one back in the line-up was Lebogang Manyama, who had recovered from a muscle strain.
Amakhosi attacked from the moment the referee blew the whistle for the game to start. The players were in a positive mood and, above all, Khama Billiat looked set to prove his criticasters, who felt that he hadn’t been playing well in recent times, wrong.
The build-up from the back was also a bit quicker than in recent games.
It all resulted in an early goal in the ninth minute. Mulomowandau Mathoho crossed the ball from the left in front of goal, Samir Nurković headed the ball on to Billiat, who finished from close range at the second goalpost, 1-0.
It was the Zimbabwean’s second goal this league season, with his last back in September.
Chiefs continued to pile up the pressure on the Chippa defence, looking for the second goal.
The Amakhosi defence, meanwhile, kept it tight with Khune not having much to do in the first half.
Important was also that the Glamour Boys controlled the midfield. Willard Katsande was his usual self, battling hard for every ball, while Manyama often initiated Chiefs’ attacking moves, thanks to some intelligent passes, often deep to the strikers.
Billiat nearly scored the second just before the break, but he shot the ball high over the goal.
The half-time was 1-0.
Khama Billiat looked inspired and also scored the all-important match winner. Bernard Parker worked tremendously hard and seemed to be everywhere on the pitch. However, it was Daniel Cardoso who was selected as the Absa Premiership Man of the Match after a sterling defensive performance.
Kaizer Chiefs are still topping the Absa Premiership log, with 56 points from 29 matches. Mamelodi Sundowns, Amakhosi’s nearest rival for the league title, also won, beating Polokwane City 3-0. Masandawana are also on 56 points, but their goal difference is less than Chiefs.
Kaizer Chiefs 11: Khune ©; Moleko (Mphahlele 55’), Mathoho (Ngezana 75’), Cardoso, Sasman; Parker, Katsande, Manyama (Agay 75’), Frosler (Zulu 95’); Billiat (Kambole 94’), Nurković
Subs not used: Bvuma, Baccus, Sifama
Chippa United 11: Mothwa ©; Thopola, Nsabiyumva, Kevin Moyo, Maphanga (Elvis Moyo 75’); Gamildien, Maphangule (Komane 72’), Malepe, Jodwana (Kwem 46’); Lentjies (Lebitso 70’), Sekotlong
Subs not used: Mazibuko, Mthethwa, Modisane, Masalesa, Mbenyane