A resurgent Kaizer Chiefs moved up to seventh on the DStv Premiership table after beating Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila convincingly on Tuesday.
JOHANNESBURG – Three games, three wins. That has been the order of the week for Kaizer Chiefs as they appear to have put their dark days behind them, following an underwhelming start to the DStv Premiership this season.
After languishing in the bottom half of the standings a week ago, Chiefs are now seventh on the standings with 16 points, following their recent victory over strugglers Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila at the FNB Stadium yesterday afternoon.
The return of striker Samir Nurkovic has brought a much-needed breath of fresh air to Chiefs in the last three matches. The Serb has contributed with either a goal or assist upon his return as Chiefs have enjoyed three wins in as many matches.
But a system that appears to be working for coach Gavin Hunt has been the strong belief in his young troops. In their previous encounter, Happy Mashiane, 23, and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, 21, scored Chiefs’ goals during the 2-1 win over Cape Town City away from home.
Hunt continued to show belief in the development graduates yesterday. Such that when captain Ramahlwe Mphahlele had to be taken off in the first 10 minutes of the game after sustaining a hamstring injury, the 56-year-old coach called upon Njabulo Blom.
The 21-year-old versatile footballer partnered another youngster at the heart of Chiefs’ midfield, Darrel Matsheke. The duo marshalled Chiefs’ engine room with ease, repelling forays to their defence while linking build-up from defence to attack.
Chiefs, moreover, would see their early change paying off dividends from the outset. Kgotso Moleko did well to find a well-positioned Nurkovic who cushioned the ball and made a lobbying effort that found Ngcobo on the far post.
The former Amajita talisman made a sumptuous control before chipping the ball over marker Nicholus Lukhubeni to connect with the weighted ball in the air as he unleashed a half-volley past goalkeeper Washington Arubi. Chiefs going into the break ahead.
Chiefs had a bright start to the second half but Nurkovic unfortunately blasted his header over the crossbar following a set piece that was delivered by substitute Bernard Parker who came in for Dumisani Zuma during halftime.
Hunt continued in his strides to trust his youngsters, bringing on Mashiane and Lebohang Lesako, 21, for an injured Ngcobo and Leonardo Castro respectively. The duo nearly combined for Chiefs second, Mashiane’s teasing ball in the face of goal missed by Lesako with inches.
Lesako sustained an injury and was replaced by Lebogang Manyama who made his introduction count, sliding a well-timed cross from Mashiane into an empty net with his first touch of the game. With a minute to regulation, Manyama turned provider for Mashiane who put the final nail in the coffin.
There were red cards for Parker and Tshakhuma’s Alfred Ndengane, the birthday boy, after receiving two yellow cards each.