Chiefs held by Gallants, lose ground in the race for the Champions League

08 April 2023 – 22:25 By SAZI HADEBE AT FNB STADIUM

Kaizer Chiefs defender Edmilson Dové challenging Ranga Piniel Chivaviro of Marumo Gallants during their DStv Premiership match at FNB Stadium on April 08, 2023 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Kaizer Chiefs defender Edmilson Dové challenging Ranga Piniel Chivaviro of Marumo Gallants during their DStv Premiership match at FNB Stadium on April 08, 2023 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Kaizer Chiefs have themselves to blame for losing ground in the race to finish second on the DStv Premiership table after producing a lacklustre performance against strugglers Marumo Gallants.

Gallants ended Chiefs’ five-match winning run when they held them to a 1-1 draw at the FNB Stadium on Saturday night.  

The result left Chiefs in the fourth spot and trailing Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United by two points with five matches left in the season.  

These three teams are all in the race to finish second behind champions Mamelodi Sundowns to represent South Africa in the Caf Champions League next season.  

Earlier on Saturday, Kabelo Dlamini and Thembinkosi Lorch scored for Pirates who beat relegation fighting Chippa United 2-0 in Gqeberha.  

SuperSport had won by the same margin against TS Galaxy on Friday, where Siphesihle Ndlovu and Bradley Gobler grabbed the goals for Gavin Hunt’s team.   

Chiefs looked to be cruising to their sixth victory on the spin when they took the lead in the 6th minute via Ashley du Preez but failed to hold on to their lead as defender Edmilson Dove gifted Marumo striker Ranga Chivaviro an easy equaliser in the 36th minute.  

Just before Chivaviro beat Brandon Petersen from an acute angle to level matters, Du Preez and some of his attacking teammates, including Mduduzi Shabalala and Christian Saile, had fluffed glaring opportunities to extend Amakhosi’s lead.  

Marumo’s goal came as Dove failed to clear allowing Chivaviro to steal the ball and beat Petersen on the near post on the right side of the field where Chiefs left back Sifiso Hlanti left a lot of space as he was pushing forward.  

Chiefs’ strategy to try to build from the back didn’t work as Petersen and his defence looked uncomfortable on the ball and made a lot of mistakes when Marumo strikers pressed.   

Chivaviro could have punished Chiefs again in the early in second half but the striker’s poor touch inside the area was easily smothered by Petersen after the Chiefs defence was again caught in no-man’s-land.    

Shabalala also made a poor decision before the hour mark when Saile put him through.  

The teenager had a sight at goal but chose to pass the ball back to his skipper Keagan Dolly whose attempt was easily cleared.  

Saile too chose acrobatics when he had possession inside the area a minute later.      

That chance marked how poor Chiefs were on the night where their passing and combinations in the final third was not sharp and left their partisan fans frustrated and looking for coach to make changes from the bench that had their top scorer Caleb Bimenyimana among the unused substitutes.  

George Matlou and Happy Mashiane, introduced by Zwane for Dolly and Shabalala with 20 minutes left on the clock, had little influence in the game as Marumo managed to hold on to a point that helped them move away from bottom of the log on goal difference.   

Marumo will be happy with what they managed to grind this week as they also collected three points at home in their 3-1 victory over Royal AM on Wednesday.  

 With five matches to finish the season, Marumo will fancy their chances of surviving the axe as there are as many as eight other teams, including eighth-placed Richards Bay with 31 points, that could still be drawn into what could turn out to be an intriguing relegation battle.   

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