Super Chiefs much closer to title now
The championship dream that was slowly threatening to become a nightmare after Amakhosi’s defeat to Maritzburg United was revived yesterday with this win.
In sentencing Jozef Zinnbauer to his first loss as Orlando Pirates coach, Chiefs edged ever so close to the championship title they so crave as they celebrate their 50th Anniversary.
Amakhosi are now sitting pretty at the top of the table on 48 points with just nine matches left before the curtain comes down on the 2019/20 season.
They are seven points ahead of defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns, who have a game in hand, while Pirates are a further 11 points behind.
Soccer writer Matshelane Mamabolo picked up the four moments he felt were decisive in this 169th Soweto Derby that essentially seems to have ended the Buccaneers’ hopes of what would have been an incredible come-from-behind league success.
Mhango fluffs big chance
The match was just a quarter of an hour old when the Buccaneers, who took charge of proceedings quickly, should have gone ahead.
An attack from the left saw Luvuyo Memela deliver a great cross into the box with the ball eventually falling for Premiership top scorer Gabadinho Mhango after going to the right.
Nine times out of 10 you would have bet your house on the Malawian slotting home.
But Daniel Akpeyi incredibly managed to put himself in the line of the shot to block the ball from going in.
Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp justified in his choice of the Nigerian over Itumeleng Khune, no doubt.
Manyama scores solo effort
What a strike! And how apt that it proved to be the match-winner.
The Buccaneers were on the ascendancy and attacking on the right when Reeve Frossler intercepted the ball and gave it to Samir Nurkovic.
The Serb passed to Manyama, who cut inside and pushed the ball twice to find himself right in front of goals.
He had a lot of options open for him, but the midfielder opted to go for a shot, his grasscutter beating the diving Wayne Sandilands to go in at the far corner.
It was Chiefs’ first shot on target.
Akpeyi silences critics
If that save to deny Mhango was somewhat fortuitous, there was no such thing with the five saves that the Nigerian pulled off to show just what a quality number one he is - his error against Maritzburg United clearly just an aberration.
There was that splendid double save on 73 minutes to deny both Thembinkosi Lorch and Luvuyo Memela and then getting back on his feet to push out a long range attempt.
Akpeyi then made another fabulous save to a shot by Lorch.
Splendid. Goalkeepers indeed win championships.
Chiefs deserve more
It should have been a win by more than one goal.
But Khama Billiat and Erick Mathoho wasted glorious second-half opportunities to add to the scoreline.
Billiat ran in to free space to get to a ball headed back by the Pirates defence and found himself one-on-one with Wayne Sandilands, but he incredibly tried to deliver a square ball to Manyama but Ntsikelelo Nyauza intercepted it.
Mathoho then headed wide from point blank range after a sweetly delivered cross by Maynama.@tshiliboy
Independent on Saturday