DURBAN, September 30 – Baroka FC stretched their unbeaten run to 13 matches, as they beat Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 in an Absa Premiership match played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday evening.
Chiefs, who were determined to send the men in green crashing to their first defeat since losing 3-2 to Golden Arrows in the same city as far back as May 13, were the quicker team to settle down and adjust to the patchy playing surface.
In the eighth minute, Chiefs went ahead when Philani Zulu produced the perfect pass form the left, which allowed George Maluleka to score with a powerful shot to the right of Baroka’s Namibian international goalkeeper Virgil Vries.
Baroka certainly looked a much classier side than the one that was forced to be a part of the national playoffs after finishing second from bottom in the league last season.
They nearly equalised in the 11th minute, when defender Richard Matloga charged into the right hand side of the Chiefs penalty area and sent in a low cross that none of the attackers could get a finishing touch on.
However, the Limpopo side kept pressing and were rewarded with an equaliser in the 23rd minute, when from a free-kick on the left, Lewis Macha’s glancing header found the perfect angle at the left hand post, to beat Amakhosi keeper, Itumeleng Khune.
Baroka went ahead in the 59th minute, when some quality short passing on the right hand side of the park, saw the ball eventually threaded to Albert ‘Gift’ Mothupa who fired the ball with his right foot into the back of the goal, leaving a despairing Khune grasping fresh air to his left.
The continuous battle between former Amakhosi left-back defender Punch Masenamela and Chiefs’ Siphiwe Tshabalala was one of the highlights of the match, with the veteran winger always a threat with his creative runs, chips and dead-ball free-kicks.
Chiefs, the home side in the match, were forced to replace their in-form goal-getter Gustavo Paez with Bernard Parker in the 37th minute, after the former limped off with a knee injury, but the replacement found the Baroka defence to be just as tough to break down as the Venezuelan did.
Chiefs peppered the Baroka defence continuously in the final 15 minutes of the match, but the Limpopo defence in front of goalkeeper Vries managed to absorb the pressure until the final whistle.
Baroka, now on 15 points form seven games, will return to league action on October 18 when they host Arrows, while Chiefs, who surrendered their four-match unbeaten run, remain on nine points from seven games, and will take on Mamelodi Sundowns on October 17.