Kaizer Chiefs scramble unconvincing win, piling pressure on Maritzburg

Dumisani Zuma ,(l) celebrates goal with Leonardo Castro (c), Nkosingiphile Ngcobo and Bernard Parker (r) of Kaizer Chiefs during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Kaizer Chiefs and Maritzburg United at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on 09 March 2019.
Dumisani Zuma ,(l) celebrates goal with Leonardo Castro (c), Nkosingiphile Ngcobo and Bernard Parker (r) of Kaizer Chiefs during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Kaizer Chiefs and Maritzburg United at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on 09 March 2019.
Image: ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Dumisani Zuma's 50th-minute strike earned Kaizer Chiefs a somewhat unconvincing 1-0 Absa Premiership victory against Maritzburg United at FNB Stadium on Saturday evening.

Desperate, last-placed Maritzburg, had they had any real confidence and rhythm, might have capitalised on a Chiefs who sat too deep in the first half.

United, despite two wins from four under new coach Eric Tinkler coming into the game, had no such belief.

That seemed the biggest factor in the result, as a disjointed Chiefs, who did improve and put together a more coherent, structured attack in the second half, somewhat stumbled to this victory.

The first half was something of an abortion for Chiefs - perhaps their worst half so far under Ernst Middendorp.

Whatever the plan was, it was hard to see. Amakhosi could barely consistently string a pass together.

Despite this, they had two good chances.

First Leonardo Castro was able to turn and strike a solid shot at Richard Ofori, Bernard Parker hitting the rebound into the side-netting with the goalkeeper out of position.

For much of the first half, though, Chiefs deployed deep.

Bruce Bvuma - starting in goal ahead of Richard Akpeyi - had to palm out Emmanuel Ntiya-Ntiya's sliced clearance. The keeper was kept busy, also having to stop Fortune Makaringe's close-range shot.

In just the 26th minute an experiment of starting Philani Zulu in central midfield was terminated when the normally left-sided player was replaced by Willard Katsande.

Chiefs' second excellent opportunity came when Khama Billiat got on the end of George Maluleka's chip and headed over advancing Ofori. Nazeer Allie athletically cleared off the line, then got up and stopped again from Zuma's shot.

From the break Chiefs handed a debut to SA Under-20 international Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, as Billiat limped out.

Maritzburg almost caught Chiefs, Mohau Mokate running onto Yannick Zakri's flick-on and beating Bvuma - and the right upright.

On balance of clear chances, Amakhosi deserved a goal. It came when Parker's classy touch found Castro in the middle, who could roll a pass to Zuma steaming in on the left, the winger curling a classy finish past Ofori.

The influential Castro attempted a strike from an impossible angle, blocked by Ofori.

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