Chiefs were lucky to go into the interval with a clean sheet against a motivated Galaxy side.
JOHANNESBURG – It will take a while before Kaizer Chiefs run like a well-oiled machine. But coach Gavin Hunt, surely, hasn’t made things easier for himself as well, as he continues to battle to build on one starting line-up going to the next match-day.
Sure, Chiefs are prohibited from signing this season, but on Wednesday night, as they drew at home with TS Galaxy, their starting line-up all again seemed like another trial and error combination for Hunt.
The inclusion of match-unfit Eric Mathoho at centre-back and Kgotso Moleko at right-back in defence nearly proved catastrophic, despite the former making an all-important clearance late in the second half.
At the back of that 3-0 humiliating defeat to arch-nemesis Orlando Pirates in the first leg of the MTN8 semi-finals, a lot was expected from Amakhosi. Instead, it was the Galaxy who showed more determination – almost hellbent to repeat their Nedbank Cup final heroics.
Three seasons ago, The Rookies, then still campaigning in the GladAfrica Championship, achieved the improbable as they defeated Amakhosi 1-0 from a late Zakhele Lepasa penalty to become the first team from the second tier to win the Nedbank Cup.
A shift in defence from Chiefs as Mathoho and Moleko made their first start and appearance of the season under Hunt nearly saw history repeating itself for Galaxy. The newly-introduced duo battling against veteran Lindokuhle Mbatha.
After sailing past Mathoho with ease, Mbatha forced Moleko to commit a malicious tackle, subsequently conceding a penalty for his team. But Wayde Lekay, without really precision behind the ball, blasted his effort against the upright as Chiefs held on.
But the slow legs of Philani Zulu nearly cost Chiefs earlier on. Against the run of play, the bulky left-back totally fluffed his interception as he missed the ball, but Tshegofatso Nyama saw his bullet effort punched back to play by Daniel Akpeyi as Chiefs’ defence regrouped.
Chiefs were lucky to go into the interval with a clean sheet. Karabo Tshepe should have broken the deadlock for Galaxy but he ballooned his efforts into the empty stands from a great interplay between him and Lekay.
But just on the stroke of half-time, Lekay should have made up for his missed penalty. But he was cleverly denied by Akpeyi who closed down the angle and blocked the ball with ease after the former received a defence-splitting pass from Tshepe.
The introduction of Leonardo Castro for Lebogang Manyama during half-time brought a breath of fresh air to Chiefs’ attack as they made inroads into Galaxy’s final third. But the failure to string passes together and too much selfish play was their downfall.
On the other hand, the pace of substitute Mokete Mogaila and Chiefs’ sloppy defence should have benefitted the visitors. The Galaxy No. 7 took on Chiefs defence and succeeded in leaving them on the floor, in the 78th minute but he blasted his effort against Akpeyi as Mathoho made the clearance off the line.
No doubt the point will be precious for Galaxy, who looked the convincing side to run out as victors. But Chiefs will be disappointed by the performance and result, heading to the Soweto Derby on Sunday where they need to overturn a 3-0 deficit.
Kaizer Chiefs (0) (0)
TS Galaxy (0) (0)