Chiefs and Celtic play to a stalemate

Kaizer Chiefs dominated Bloemfontein Celtic, creating numerous opportunities to score, but it stayed goalless in Saturday evening’s Absa Premiership match at FNB Stadium.

Willard Katsande, who is having another fine season, couldn’t play a role in the encounter due to a bereavement in the family, while his fellow countryman, Teenage Hadebe, didn’t make the squad due to a slight ankle injury. They were replaced by respectively George Maluleka, who had recovered from his calf problems, and Siyabonga Ngezana.

Hendrick Ekstein came in for Siphelele Ntshangase, who had started in the last two matches.

Chiefs started as the better side with especially Leonardo Castro looking lively up-front. The Colombian had a shot at goal already in the fifth minute, which needed Patrick Tignyemb to be fully stretched to his right to fist the ball to the side.

Ekstein was buzzing in midfield and Maluleka also had some fine moments. On the other side of the pitch, Chiefs looked again solid in defence with Ngezana making some excellent tackles.

There was another chance for Castro in the 30th minute after Ramahlwe Mphahlele whipped the ball in from the right flank. The striker, however, kicked the ball over the crossbar.

Celtic didn’t do much in return and Itumeleng Khune had a rather quiet first half.

The second half continued like the first with Amakhosi dominating ball possession, even though it didn’t result at first in too many goalscoring opportunities.

The visitors did get a fine chance after about 15 minutes in the second half, but Khune was alert, making a fine save.

Coach Steve Komphela decided to make the first change in the 67th minute, bringing on Bernard Parker for Ekstein.

Maluleka’s shot at goal shortly thereafter was deflected by a defender with the ball rolling past the wrong side of the goalpost.

Slowly, Chiefs started to build up the pressure on the Celtic goal. There was a shot from Parker from inside the box, but goalkeeper Tignyemb again managed to punch the ball away.

Accordingly, Cardoso nearly thought that he had scored the opener with his head, only to see the ball hit the crossbar.

That’s when coach Komphela brought on Ntshangase for Castro, who had worked his socks off, but was somewhat unlucky not to find the back of the net.

The chances kept coming Chiefs’ way with Parker kicking the ball over the sidebar from around the penalty spot. It looked as if getting the much wanted goal was just a matter of time.

In the end, the goal refused to come. Amakhosi were clearly the better side, but it wasn’t to be on the day.

Key moment in the match:

There wasn’t a certain key moment. There were several, as Kaizer Chiefs got so many goalscoring opportunities that it was difficult to keep track. Key was, in a sad way, that none of those chances ended up as a goal.

Most Valuable Player (MVP):

Leonardo Castro worked hard and got a few chances to score. George Maluleka did well in the middle of the park, while Bernard Parker delivered a fine performance after coming on in the second half. But it was former Glamour Boy, Lucky Baloyi who was selected as the Absa Premiership Man of the Match.

Gallery:

What it means:

Mamelodi Sundowns had lost two points earlier on the evening as a result of their one-all draw against SuperSport United. It meant that Kaizer Chiefs had the opportunity to close the gap to the log leaders, Sundowns, to three points. But Amakhosi’s draw means that the five-point gap remains. Chiefs are still in second position though, having collected 35 points from 22 games.

Kaizer Chiefs 11: Khune; Mphahlele, Cardoso, Ngezana; Molangoane, Meyiwa Maluleka, Ekstein (Parker 67’), Zulu (Tshabalala 81’); Castro (Ntshangase 75’), Moon

Subs not used: Khuzwayo, Mathoho, Jayiya, Malope

Bloemfontein Celtic 11: Tignyemb; Molekwane, Rikhotso, Gordinho, Pfumbidzai; Letsoalo (Maruping 84’), Baloyi, Phalane, Hotto (Mashikinya 90’); Motshegwa (Dlamini 46’), Mabena

Subs not used: Dambe, Lubisi, Mabaso, Nyundu

Next Match:

Kaizer Chiefs now face Orlando Pirates away in the Soweto Derby on Saturday, 3 March. This Absa Premiership fixture will take place at FNB Stadium. Kick-off is at 15:30.

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