DURBAN – The Absa Premiership remained in draw mode after Kaizer Chiefs and Free State Stars shared the points with a 1-1 result at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday.
Two second-half goals produced a third draw of the day after the two earlier clashes – Maritzburg United against Bidvest Wits and Chippa United versus Mamelodi Sundowns – ended goalless.
The result, their seventh draw, also left Chiefs searching for their first home league victory of the campaign after 12 fixtures. The outcome left them bunched with other clubs near the top of the standings.
The goal famine in the Absa Premiership is almost as bad as the drought in the Cape. The first half of this match replicated the stalemates that played out in the two earlier matches.
It was a continuation of the goalless results of midweek when four fixtures ended 0-0. Chiefs contributed to that statistic with their barren affair against AmaZulu.
The national goal-scoring conundrum troubles Chiefs in particular. Going into last night’s game the Amakhosi hadn’t scored or won in their last three league appearances.
The scoring crisis had the spotlight shone on it when with the last kick of the tie winger Joseph Molangoane crashed the ball on to the post.
Not even the addition to the starting line-up of Siphiwe Tshabalala for Hendrick Ekstein, the only change from the midweek outing, made a difference.
Tshabalala curled an effort over from the edge of the box and later had a shot blocked by a defender.
The chances were there but the finishing bogey haunted them throughout the half in which they saw plenty of the ball around the Stars box.
Midfielder George Maluleka, who opened the scoring on his two previous visits to this venue, went close to breaking the deadlock midway through the half, but his well struck shot off Gustavo Paez’s layoff was off target.
He closed the half with another strike that hit the top of the net as the visitors rode their luck.
Free State countered via wingers Thabo Maphakisa and Sinethemba Jantjie and the closest they went to scoring was when striker Jared Abrahms nodded a header to Itumeleng Khune late in the opening period.
The second half sparked the crowd to life as the sides traded goals in a space of two minutes.
It took a deflected strike off Daniel Cardoso for Stars to go up via Nhlanhla Vilakazi in the 64th minute.
His shot on the turn deserved reward, even though it left Khune flatfooted.
Two minutes later, Bernard Parker broke Chiefs’ three-game league goal duck with a close range finish.
The goals produced a livelier atmosphere in the sparsely-filled stadium as the teams went for the kill.
Defender Nyiko Mobbie tested Khune’s agility with a rasping drive which the goalie tipped over.
The introduction of ex-Chiefs forward Siphelele Mthembu for Abrahms gave the visiting attack more bite, while Chiefs coach Steve Komphela countered with the substitution of defender Philani Zulu with attacker Bongolethu Jayiya for the final 20 minutes.
Opportunities there were but the lack of a finishing touch further highlighted the national scoring affliction.