Willard Katsande’s headed goal in the first half helped Kaizer Chiefs to beat Black Leopards 1-0 in an Absa Premiership match on a cold Wednesday evening.
There was a first start for Dax Andrianarimanana, while Teenage Hadebe and Philani Zulu also came into the team. Hadebe replaced Siyabonga Ngezana, who got a one-game suspension.
The match started evenly balanced. The visitors didn’t come to sit back and tried to go forward in numbers whenever in possession of the ball.
Dax clearly wanted to prove himself and took an early shot at goal from outside the box, but the ball flew straight to the goalkeeper.
Leopards went forward with intent, getting a few chances to score, but Itumeleng Khune was always well positioned and never really into trouble.
Chiefs, meanwhile, had a great opportunity when Leonardo Castro crossed the ball to Khama Billiat. The Zimbabwean failed to connect with the ball, which then rolled in front of Dumsani Zuma, but his shot at goal was blocked by the Leopards goalkeeper.
Billiat was doing well, always looking dangerous when in possession of the ball. Zuma worked hard and proved a nuisance for the opponent’s defenders, while Katsande was doing his usually clean-up job in his defensive midfield role.
Dax also did well in his first start, playing maybe a bit more defensively than the Malagasy is used to, assisting Katsande to help stop offensive moves from the visitors.
Four minutes before the break, the Glamour Boys got their goal. Billiat took a corner, Ramahlwe Mphahlele flicked the ball on with his head, Katsande was alert, moving in front of the defender and heading the ball past the goalkeeper into the back of the net.
It continued to be an open game in the second half with both sides trying to get a goal.
There was an excellent chance for Mario Booysen to extend the lead in the 57th game, but his header from close range was excellently punched over the bar by the Leopards goalkeeper.
Chiefs’ coach Giovanni Solinas decided to bring on Bhongolethu Jayiya for Zuma.
The visitors fought hard to get an equaliser and were a few times maybe a touch unlucky not to get their goal. On the other hand, Amakhosi had a few chances to add a second. In the end, Chiefs fully deserved to get the three points.
Chiefs: Khune; Mphahlele, Booysen, Hadebe, Walusimbi; Zuma (Jayiya 64’), Katsande, Andrianarimanana (Maluleka 80’), Zulu; Billiat, Castro
Leopards: King Ndlovu; Munyai, Katjiukua, Munganga, Zulu; Khutlang (Tshepe 47’), Nene, Nange (Themba Ndlovu 83’), Hlongwane (Mhlongo 67’); Musonda, Kapinga.