JOHANNESBURG, January 9 – Kaizer Chiefs opened up the title race by beating log leaders Bidvest Wits 2-0 in an Absa Premiership fixture played at the Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday night.
The win by Chiefs means the Clever Boys’ lead at the top has been cut to just two points and that will be good news to the other challengers for the league title.
In a cagey opening to the game, Wits’ Sifiso Hlanti tried his luck from distance early on, but fired his shot high and wide. In the 26th minute, after a Deon Hotto corner, the ball fell to Thabang Monare, but the Clever Boys midfielder’s attempt flew over the bar.
For Chiefs, Khama Billiat had a chance in the 20th minute, after a good passing move from the Soweto club, but the Zimbabwean hoofed his effort high. Seven minutes later, Billiat set up Leonardo Castro with an opportunity, but the striker headed wide.
With both teams keeping things tight, chances were few and far between in the opening 45 minutes, which is why it was no surprise that it was goalless at halftime.
In the second half, though, Chiefs grabbed the bull by the horns and took a 1-0 lead in the 57th minute – Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya was the man who delivered the cross and Castro was at the end of it to finish with aplomb.
Wits tried to hit back immediately when, three minutes later, they unlucky not to level when Cole Alexander fired a shot wide of goal. At the other end, Lebogang Manyana had an opportunity to increase Chiefs’ advantage, but he, too, shot wide.
Chiefs then produced another sweeping passing move to break down the Wits defence and Hendrik Ekstein was able to steer in a cross from substitute Bernard Parker to make it 2-0 to Amakhosi.
With Wits rather disappointing on the night, they spent the closing stages chasing shadows as Chiefs denied them the ball and eventually ran out comfortable winners.
There was time for some drama just before full-time when Wits defender Robyn Johannes was red-carded for something he said to referee Victor Gomes. (ANA)