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Chiefs barely keep Top 8 hopes alive

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Kaizer Chiefs and fellow Soweto giants Swallows FC walked away from their DStv Premiership clash at the FNB Stadium on Wednesday with a point each.

Happy Mashiane of Kaizer Chiefs is challenged by Sandile Hlanti of Swallows FC during their DStv Premiership match at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Wednesday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Embattled Kaizer Chiefs were back in the trenches on Wednesday evening at the FNB Stadium, where they managed to keep their slender Top 8 hopes alive with a 1-all stalemate against Swallows.

The outcome of this Soweto derby means that Chiefs will remain in 10th place and live to fight another day for a Top 8 berth. Swallows retain a fifth place on the standings.

Swallows were the first to draw blood after a freakish goal by striker Kagiso Malinga who enjoyed a rare slot in the run-on XI after battling injury this season. Left-back Sifiso Hlanti booted the ball into Chiefs’ goalmouth from 30 metres out and Malinga deflected the ball from under the noses of two hesitant opposition defenders past Bruce Bvuma, the Chiefs goalkeeper, in the eighth minute.

The riposte by Chiefs emerged seven minutes later after fine build-up work. Midfielder Willard Katsande outjumped the Swallows rearguard, and his header was held out by the upright. Chiefs’ Colombian goalmouth predator Leonardo Castro pounced on the rebound to score.

Just ahead of the half-hour mark, Swallows midfielder Lebohang Mokoena struck the post with a long-range effort after picking up a shallow clearance by Chiefs’ defence.

The momentum was with Swallows for most of the second half but several instances of stout defence saw Chiefs absorb the pressure to claim a share of the spoils.

Chiefs will next be in action on Saturday for the Champions League quarter-final match against Tanzania’s Simba SC.

Swallows will host Stellenbosch in Dobsonville next Tuesday.

@Herman_Gibbs

IOL Sport