JOHANNESBURG – For the past six years, just before the PSL season gets under way, football loving fans, mostly of Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, embark on a holly pilgrimage to a shrine called the FNB Stadium just to see their sides play.
Out there on the field of play, especially in the first period, Chiefs shone the brightest. They dominated matters from the onset, leading to them finding an opener just nine minutes into the match from Bernard Parker.
That goal saw Amakhosi secure a 1-0 victory, their third win in the Carling Cup friendly, with all of them having been won during the 90 minutes of play.
A superb finish with his left boot by Parker came following a spot-on delivery by the educated foot of Gustavo Paez with his sweet cross.
Pirates goalkpeer Siyabonga Mpontshane could only catch air as the ball went on to reach the back of the net. Amakhosi were now in the lead.
What worked for Chiefs is that they won the central midfield battle, forcing their opponents off the ball many times as Pirates tried to infiltrate them in that area.
The Pirates midfield combination consisting of Oupa Manyisa, Issa Sarr, Mpho Makola and Luvuyo Memela struggled massively against the Glamour Boys’ central trio of Willard Katsande, George Maluleka and Hendrick Ekstein.
These three served as anchors for Amakhosi’s starting line-up, mostly playing defensively deep to protect their defence.
It is only Ekstein who was allowed the freedom to press forward.
Up in the final third, Pirates looked lost. Tendai Ndoro, who scored 12 goals in the league last season, alongside his striking partner Thamsanqa Gabuza, looked out of ideas each time they came up against Chiefs’ defensive line.
The Glamour Boys’ rearguard were jealous of their goal-mouth.
Paez worked his socks off as to prove why he should start more games in Chiefs’ colours leading up to the new season.
Not only did the Venezuelan striker create Chiefs’ goal in this match-up, but also took chances at goal, while also dropping back to help out in defence each time it was expected of him to do so.
And that’s why Chiefs opted not to substitute him in the second period. They sacrificed Ekstein for Ryan Moon, who scored on debut when Bafana Bafana played against Botswana in a 2018 African Nations Championship qualifier out in Francistown a few weeks ago.
Pirates, on the other hand, introduced new signing Thamsanqa Sangweni to the Ghost in his official debut for the Buccaneers following his move from Chippa United, while Sarr was called to the bench.
Pirates fought hard throughout the second stanza, but it was not to be as Amakhosi secured their third win of this season curtain-raiser.