Stars, Chiefs in a goalless draw
Kaizer Chiefs held log leaders Silver Stars to a 0-0 draw in a sensational Castle Premiership match at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace on Wednesday night.
Fresh from their 2-0 routing by SuperSport United, Chiefs shook off that disappointment, but surely missed marksman Shaun Bartlett and wonderboy Siyabonga Nkosi through injury and suspension, respectively.
The dearth of goals that saw them having their worst start to the season was palpable for the visitors and with the hard-running, yet erratic, David Radebe partnering the marauding Kaizer Motaung Jnr, few scoring chances were created with Stars giving them little space to move in front of goals.
For Owen Da Gama's young 'Lions of the North', they proved a steel to match their style, despite a gut-wrenching draw as they fought for every ball - indicating why they are the team to beat in the league.
Barely four minutes into the match, the reliable Motaung threatened, but his shot went over the bar.
Fresh from scoring a brace against Golden Arrows, predatory midfielder Edward Williams tried his trademark long-range shots, but it did nothing to threaten the evergreen Chiefs goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez.
The Telkom Knockout champions' attacking prowess gave the Chiefs defence something to ponder with beanpole Dale Studzinski combining well, with Simba Marumo asking questions.
Fernandez did well to deny winger Thuso Phala a scoring chance after a high-ball tussle with Studzinki and his work nearly rewarded at the other end when three scoring chances.
Firstly it was Radebe's bicycle-kick then Motaung failed to beat Wayne Sandilands after a through-ball, before Tinashe Nengomashe's low shot went wide, to the delight of underfire Ernst Middendorp.
Stars almost got the opening goal after incisive midfielder Solomon Mathe was allowed to make a thrust run at Chiefs goal-mouth, but winger Joseph Mkhalipa wasted the chance by shooting wide in the 41st minute.
The score remained 0-0 at half-time and the second half was very much all Chiefs.
Nengomashe was well-placed by much-improved winger Gerald Sibeko, but his disappointing shot went wide.
Renowned for his swerving in free-kick shot, substitute Thabo Mooki, who came in for the ineffective Ditheko Mototo at the start of the second half, failed to beat Sandilands as his shot hit the wall.
The Chiefs defence, which was leaky previously, did well to mark Marumo out of the game and it came as no surprise when he was replaced by Dingaan Masanabo.
Williams brought the best out of Fernandez when his thunderous shot was saved by Bafana Bafana's number one goalminder.
With a troika of their strikers, Bartlett, Louis Agyemang, and Rotson Kilambe out through injuries, Chiefs were shot up-front with Schalkwyk taking the striking role after winger Arthur Zwane came on for Radebe in the 68th minute.
Stars (4-4-2): Wayne Sandilands, Willem Jackson, Abass Inusah, Bekithemba Ndlovu, Joseph Mkalipa (December Ngobeni, 46), Edward Williams, Thuso Phala, Stanley Kgatla, Solomon Mathe, Dale Studzinski (Koketso Mmotong, 77), Simba Marumo (Dingaan Masanabo, 65).
Coach: Owen Da Gama
Chiefs (4-4-2): Rowen Fernandez, Patrick Mayo, Jimmy Tau, Fabian McCarthy, Siphiwe Mkhonza, Tinashe Nengomashe, Gerald Sibeko, Ditheko Mototo (Thabo Mooki, 46) , Gert Schalkwyk, David Radebe (Arthur Zwane, 68) , Kaizer Motaung Jnr.
Coach: Ernst Middendorp
Referee: Ace Ngcobo
Caution(s): Mkhonza 27, Williams 44, Nengomashe 62, Inusah 75
By Patrick Baloyi/Backpagepix