JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs continue their search for a first Absa Premiership win of the 2018-19 season following their 1-1 draw away to Baroka FC on Tuesday night.
Despite running riot in the quarter-finals of the MTN8 over the weekend, thrashing Free State Stars 3-0 to set up a date with SuperSport United in the last four of the competition, Amakhosi were goal-shy at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Tuesday.
This means that coach Giovanni Solinas is still yet to register a victory in the league, managing a draw in his opening game in charge against champions Mamelodi Sundowns and then being taught a lesson by Bidvest Wits in a 3-1 defeat a week ago.
Chiefs would have been confident travelling to Polokwane on the back of a Khama Billiat-inspired win, although Solinas did warn that they would face a Baroka side that is “fresh” after getting the weekend off because they were not involved in the MTN8.
The game got off to a rather tepid start, with neither of the two sides threatening. Chiefs were forced to make some changes to their winning team on Saturday night.
Itumeleng Khune, goalkeeper and captain, returned to the starting line-up after he had been given a leave of absence because his girlfriend Sbahle Mpisane was in ICU following a horrific car crash a few days earlier. He took the place of Virgil Vries, who got injured on his debut for Amakhosi.
Then Dumisani Zuma, one of the goal-scorers from the win over Stars, also missed out due to a bout of flu.
Solinas already knew that he would have to replace winger Joseph Molangoane, who suffered a broken leg and could very well miss the rest of the season.
Chiefs endured a shaky start and their back four was never settled – defender Daniel Cardoso’s own goal shortly after the half-hour mark the evidence of this.
There seemed to be a miscommunication as Khune rushed out to collect, but his teammate attempted to head the ball back into his safe hands. The goalkeeper has not kept a clean-sheet so far this season, which is unusual for the country’s first-choice.
Cardoso own goal pic.twitter.com/heebxEOnV4
But they equalised before the halftime break through veteran Siphiwe Tshabalala. There were question marks over the incident that led to the free kick, but Tshabalala was not complaining and punished Baroka to level matters.
Chiefs now face Maritzburg United on Friday, and it will be another tough away clash against Fadlu Davids’ struggling side.
Baroka, who face cross-town rivals Polokwane City this weekend, will feel they missed an opportunity to claim the scalp of one of the title contenders.