Durban – A second-half Bernard Parker penalty was all that separated Kaizer Chiefs from Golden Arrows as the Soweto giants moved top of the Premiership table with a 1-0 win at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Thursday.
The goal came after 48 minutes when Mzivukile Tom was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box by the assistant referee and the Bafana Bafana striker stepped up to score his seventh goal of the season.
It was a hard fought win for Amakhosi, but a deserved one nonetheless Äthey struck the post thrice in the opening half Ä as they leapfrogged Mamelodi Sundowns at the summit.
At the start, both sides shared the early possession with little questions asked of either goalkeeper.
Philani Shange had the first potentially dangerous free-kick that was wastefully hacked over for Arrows, before Siphiwe Tshabalala brought the sparse crowd to its feet in the 14th minute when he broke forward through the middle, only to send a cross-goal effort wide.
Chiefs had another decent chance when Tshabalala's free-kick was only half cleared and fell at the feet of Parker, who curled over midway through the half.
There was finally a save to make after 26 minutes when a clever first touch by Reneilwe Letsholonyane looped the ball through to Knowledge Musona and his effort had to be blocked low down by Ryan Harrison.
Moments later the Zimbabwean failed to properly connect a cross from the left as the Arrows custodian again gathered.
An end-to-end spell then saw Letsholonyane first volley just over from 20 yards out, before Bonginkosi Ntuli almost latched onto a defensive header from a long Harrison ball that was headed backwards by a Chiefs defender.
The Arrows frontman had his toe-poke blocked by Itumeleng Khune.
Chiefs came closest to taking the lead after 39 minutes as Joseph Musonda and Siboniso Gaxa both struck the bar.
First the Arrows defender deflected a Tsepo Masilela effort onto the crossbar, with Gaxa heading the rebound onto the right upright as Arrows escaped to the dressing room goalless at the interval.
It took just three minutes after the restart for Chiefs to take the lead and it came via the penalty spot as Tom made a mess of trying to control a skewed Tshabalala header on the left.
Parker stepped up to send Harrison the wrong way as the visitors took a deserved lead.
Arrows tried to claw their way back, but their lack of quality in the final third left them resorting to long-range efforts as Musonda and Ntlantla Zothwane fired over either side with Harrison producing an excellent low save to keep out Tshabalala's 30-yard strike.
Jabulani Nene came closest to pulling a goal back nine minutes from the end when Ntuli headed down towards his feet and the replacement midfielder's first time shot was blocked from point-blank range.
Chiefs held on for an eighth win of the season and one that moved them three points clear at the top, with the hosts staying bottom of the table. – Sapa