Chiefs squeeze past 9-man Chippa to remain top of table
The fight for the Absa Premiership title will go to the final day on Saturday with log leaders Kaizer Chiefs having the advantage of lifting the trophy.
Following their 1-0 victory over nine-man Chippa United at Orlando Stadium last night, Chiefs head to Saturday equal on 56 points with second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns, but Amakhosi have a superior goal difference.
A victory over Baroka at Bidvest Stadium should be enough to see Amakhosi lift the title, if Sundowns do not win their game against Black Leopards by not more than four goals.
Chiefs have 21 goals to Sundowns 18 meaning Pitso Mosimane’s side will need to go on a scoring spree to pip Amakhosi for the title should both teams win their matches on Saturday.
The big news last night was the return of goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune in the starting line-up for Chiefs as Ernst Middendorp opted for experience as they looked to close out the title race.
Daniel Akpeyi’s concussion that ruled him out for the rest of the season in their 1-0 defeat to Bidvest Wits on Sunday opened the way for Khune’s long-awaited return.
Khune last played on February 22 when they lost to Highlands Park in the Nedbank Cup on penalties and managed to keep a clean-sheet on his return last night.
Having been given a lifeline on Sunday when Sundowns lost 0-1 to Baroka, Chiefs knew they couldn't afford another slip-up in the title race and started on the offensive.
They got off to a perfect start as Samir Nurkovic’s flick-on found Khama Billiat, who poked home from six-yards with the match just 10 minutes old to score his first goal since September last year.
It was one-way traffic in the first half with Chiefs dominating play and pushed for a second goal while Chippa sat back and waited for a counter-attack.
Billiat nearly doubled the lead in the stroke of half time but he squandered a golden chance to extend Chiefs lead in the stroke of half time. Chippa offered little going forward and didn’t trouble Khune that much in the opening half.
Chippa suffered a blow just after the hour mark with Tercious Malepe sent off for an early shower after a dangerous tackle on Billiat. With a 1-0 lead, Chiefs were leaving dangerous as Chippa despite being one man down, they pushed for an equaliser only to be let down by poor finishing as Chiefs opted to sit back and protect their lead. Chippa finished with nine men after Elvis Moyo was also sent off towards the end of the match.
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