Stellenbosch FC and Kaizer Chiefs share the points after goalless draw at Danie Craven
CAPE TOWN – Stellenbosch FC halted the Kaizer Chiefs’ train at the Danie Craven Stadium by holding the Amakhosi to a goalless draw.
Chiefs arrived in Cape Town on a three-game winning streak but could not break down Stellenbosch on Saturday.
Coach Steve Barker admitted before the match that Stellenbosch needed to be wary of the threat Chiefs posed in attack and his men were certainly prepared for the danger in the first half.
With captain Robyn Johannes back in defence marshalling the troops, the Stellenbosch back four were compact and resolute and restricted Chiefs to mainly long range attempts on goal.
Two of these within the first 20 minutes fell to Philani Zulu and the danger man Samir Nurkovic, but both these attempted shots did not cause Stellenbosch any real concern.
Chief’s in-form midfielder Nkosingiphile Ngcobo also attempted to break down the maroon wall, but on this occasion his radar was not on target as his strike from the edge of the box sailed wide of the post.
Barker had also promised, though, that Stellenbosch were not going to allow Chiefs to dictate proceedings and that they would go on the offensive when the opportunity arose.
And it was the home side that arguably had the best chance of the first half to take the lead when Junior Mendieta was fed a lovely through ball, but the Argentine striker failed to connect cleanly and sent his tame shot wide of Daniel Akpeyi’s goal.
Stellenbosch’s confidence was certainly growing, and had a further two chances early in the second half to find the elusive opening goal.
Lelethu Skelem saw his strike brilliantly cleared away by the returning Eric Mathoho on the line, before Stanley Dimgba sent a close-range header over the crossbar moments later.
It was missed opportunities that the home side were left to rue as Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt reacted by making a host of changes to change the momentum of the game.
It had the desired effect with visitors finding greater fluidity with Nurkovic, as expected, the central point of the Chiefs’ attack. Unfortunately for the Amakhosi, the big Serbian was not as his lethal best on the day and could not capitalise on the chances that fell his way.
“Our final ball let us down, especially in the first half, we had some great chances. They had two great chances in the second half. Overall we had the better opportunities, but our final ball let us down. It wasn’t a great performance, but it was a battling game,” Hunt said post-match.
“We tried to be brave. We opened up a little bit. Fortune always favours the brave, but we could have lost it too. We didn’t defend great today, but we’re moving up.”
Hunt’s counterpart Barker believed his team had the better of the spoils and could actually have taken all three points off the mighty Chiefs.
“I think after conceding three (goals) in mid-week, we needed to tighten up and a clean sheet was the target. We created two big chances after halftime. It’s one thing keeping a team out but we needed to take our chances.
“We are proud of the effort, we showed that we are a team that can’t be pushed over. But we need to show more composure. To get a point is well-deserved, they are still Kaizer Chiefs,” Barker said.