Itumeleng Khune needs to watch out and pull up his socks, literally, if he wants to keep his place in the Kaizer Chiefs outfit. Reyaad Pieterse showed why he is in goals for one of the best teams, not only in South Africa, but in the whole of Africa yesterday when he stopped a myriad of goal attempts from arch-rivals Orlando Pirates when the two soccer giants met at the majestic FNB Stadium on Saturday.
They started coming as early as the fourth minute when star player Oupa Manyisa broke away along the right touchline and supplied a brilliant cross right onto the head of Mpho Makola who watched his brilliant header provide young Reyaad with an opprtunity to shine. It was a brilliant save which would have beaten a lesser goalkeeper.
A reply to this affront came from Amakhosi four minutes later when veteran international, Bernard Parker’s well played free kick into the penalty area was met with a brilliant header by young Tafu Mashamaita. Again the goalkeeper, this time Senzo Meyiwa denied the Soccer City community an opportunity to explode into song and dance. Such is the long standing rivalry between the two Soweto soccer giants.
The Buccaneers were back on the attack in the eleventh minute, again with Oupa Manyisa setting up overlapping defender, Ayanda Gcaba to beat Chiefs’ well set up offside trap. The young defender connected well with the ball despite the tight angle and the ball had goal written all over it the moment it left his boot. The whole entourage of Pirates’ supporters were already on their feet. To their great disappointment, young Pieterse was equal to the task even though he had to pull out all the stops and acrobatically save this one. A minute later, the in form Bhakajuju were back in attack again with Makola who watched in agony as his near brilliant effort sailed on the left hand of the wrong goal post.
Ayanda Gcaba was back in attack in the 34th minute but he saw his left footed screamer sail high and wide. The first half continued in that fashion with Chiefs always on the back-foot and Pirates keeping them pinned to their own half. Chiefs attacks were coming in dribs and drabs like in the 40th minute when a poor clearance from defender Lucky Lekgwate landed at Bernard Parker’s feet only for his sixteen yard effort to balloon over Meyiwa’s cross bar.
Orlando Pirates quickly made a change at the beginning of the second half, taking out Helder Pelembe and putting in Lennox Bacela. The change did not seem to have the immediate impact they had anticipated as, soon after that, Kaizer’s Letsolonyane connected well with the ball but it went wide off the mark. Another attempt from Chiefs came in the 53rd minute through Bernard Parker but Meyiwa was equal to the task and saved from point blank range.
It was ironically Senzo who made the school boy blunder of going after a high cross and not getting it that gave their arch rivals Kaizer Chiefs their win and with it the three points that will make a huge difference to their league aspirations. Not to take anything away from Chiefs effort, it was a brilliant set piece that was taken with precision. Siphiwe Tshabalala took a brilliant corner kick that went just in front of goal and Senzo Meyiwa went up for it. When he missed it, Willard Katsande was at hand on the line just behind him to head home what was literally a piece of cake. Pirates could have drawn level if Rooi Mahamutsa’s header from a Sifiso Myeni’s cross had found its mark. The game ended with Kaizer Chiefs one goal up but more importantly, with three points in their bag.