JOHANNESBURG - Kaizer Chiefs didn’t receive much of a morale booster heading to the Soweto derby against nemesis Orlando Pirates, following their 1-1 draw with Baroka FC in the DStv Premiership at the FNB Stadium.
Despite the unfavourable result at home, Chiefs remained seventh on the standings with 18 points, amid the poor start. Baroka, who scored first, are a position below Chiefs on 16 points, following their roller-coaster outing this season.
After coming back from a purple patch, where they enjoyed three wins and one draw in four matches, Chiefs were the confident side of the two teams coming into this encounter as they looked to continue with their late push up the standings.
Such that coach Gavin Hunt didn’t change much from the team that played out to a goalless stalemate with Stellenbosch FC, Reeve Frosler getting the nod ahead of youngster Darrel Matsheke. And that tactical change nearly paid dividends for Chiefs.
Lebogang Manyama unleashed a lobbying effort, just outside Baroka’s 18-area, which found an unmarked Frosler, with only goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke to beat. But the latter unceremoniously saw his efforts sail wide of goal after Masuluke closed down the angle.
That being the only realistic chance of the first half, the two teams headed to the interval still bearing ducks – after somewhat of a lacklustre outing. But Bakgakga proved why they’ve been Chiefs’ bogey side in the past, having been responsible for their championship failure last season.
Masuluke sent a long-ball into Chiefs’ final third which was flicked on by Evidence Makgopa into the path of Thamsanqa Masiya, who easily slotted past an onrushing Daniel Akpeyi. But Hunt’s men kept the pressure on for an equaliser.
And it came after a Frosler cross towards the face of goal was unfortunately cleared by Goodman Mosele into his own net, with Masuluke in no man’s land. Chiefs piled on the late pressure for a winner but they could only bag a point heading to the Soweto derby on Saturday.