After a disappointing performance against strugglers Marumo Gallants, Kaizer Chiefs are to blame for losing momentum in the race to finish second on the DStv Premiership table.
Gallants interrupted the Chiefs’ five-match winning streak on Saturday night, drawing 1-1 at FNB Stadium. With five games remaining in the season, the Chiefs are in fourth place, two points behind Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United.
These three clubs are all vying for second place behind champions Mamelodi Sundowns in order to represent South Africa in the Caf Champions League next season.
Earlier in the day, Pirates defeated relegation-threatened Chippa United 2-0 in Gqeberha, with to goals from Kabelo Dlamini and Thembinkosi Lorch.
SuperSport had won by the same scoreline against TS Galaxy on Friday, with goals from Siphesihle Ndlovu and Bradley Gobler for Gavin Hunt’s club.
Chiefs appeared to be on their way to their sixth consecutive victory when Ashley du Preez scored in the sixth minute, but they were unable to hold on to their lead as defender Edmilson Dove allowed Marumo striker Ranga Chivaviro an easy equaliser in the 36th minute.
Du Preez and other of his offensive teammates, including Mduduzi Shabalala and Christian Saile, had missed clear chances to extend Amakhosi’s lead just before Chivaviro beat Brandon Petersen from an acute angle to level matters.
Marumo’s goal came when Dove failed to clear the ball, allowing Chivaviro to take the ball and beat Petersen on the near post on the right side of the pitch, where Chiefs left defender Marumo was playing. As he pushed forward, Sifiso Hlanti left a lot of space.
The Chiefs’ tactic of trying to build from the back did not work, as Petersen and his defence appeared uneasy on the ball and made numerous errors when Marumo forwards pressed.
Chivaviro had another chance to punish the Chiefs early in the second half, but his weak touch inside the area was easily buried by Petersen as the Chiefs’ defence was once again trapped in no man’s land.
When Saile put Shabalala through before the hour mark, he too made a bad decision. The teenager had a chance to score but instead sent the ball back to his captain, Keagan Dolly, whose shot was easily cleared. When Saile gained control of the region a minute later, he picked acrobatics as well.
That chance exemplified how bad the Chiefs were on the night, when their passing and combinations in the final third were sloppy, leaving their partisan fans upset and eager for the coach to make changes from the bench, which included their top scorer Caleb Bimenyimana.
Marumo will be pleased with their efforts this week, as they also grabbed three points at home in a 3-1 victory over Royal AM on Wednesday.
With five games remaining, Marumo will fancy their chances of avoiding relegation, while up to eight other teams, including eighth-placed Richards Bay with 31 points, might be drawn into what could turn out to be an exciting relegation struggle.