Kaizer Chiefs recorded a second straight Premier Soccer League draw when they surrendered their lead to be held 1-1 by Baroka FC at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Thursday.
After Lebogang Manyama put Amakhosi in front with a 58th minute goal, Chiefs appeared on course to secure maximum points until Evidence Makgopa replied for the hosts with nine minutes to go.
In what was a missed opportunity to get into the top eight, Chiefs remain on position nine, while Baroka climb one rung up to 12th position.
Chiefs have now gone for five straight league games without tasting defeat and nine unbeaten matches across all competitions.
Coach Gavin Hunt made just one change from the team that started in last weekend’s Caf Champions League 2-2 draw against Horoya AC last Saturday, bringing in Samir Nurkovic for Happy Mashiane who later on came in as a substitute.
After the reverse fixture between the two sides ended 1-1 in January, Amakhosi could not have their revenge on a team which denied them last season’s league title 31 minutes to the final while on the last day of the campaign.
That means the last three league meetings between Chiefs and Amakhosi have ended in 1-1 draws.
The match started with both sides barely testing each other but Chiefs had a penalty appeal turned down by the referee 10 minutes into the contest when Nurkovic was tackled by Baroka captain Vusi Sibiya inside the box.
A minute later, Sibiya was fast enough to block Khama Billiat from taking a volley just outside the box.
Baroka’s first real chance at goal came in the 20th minute when Richard Mbulu headed just wide off a freekick delivery from his Malawian compatriot Gerald Phiri who was also the next to miss with his head moments later.
From then, neither goalkeeper between Itumeleng Khune and Oscarine Masuluke was kept busy and the teams went for the half time break goalless.
Eight minutes after the restart, Nurkovic could not connect first time a cross by Billiat from the left.
At the other end, Mbulu witnessed a number of his crosses finding no one to do justice to them inside Khune’s goal area.
Some sublime work from Njabulo Blom and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo ended with Billiat superbly executing a back heel for Manyama who rounded Masuluke to break the deadlock and thrust Amakhosi ahead on 58 minutes.
The hosts nearly hit back three minutes but Phiri’s well-taken free kick went just over the bar.
As Baroka pressed for an equaliser, Khune was forced to make a brilliant save, punching to safety substitute Tshediso Patjie’s well-struck freekick.
Bakgaga ba ga Mphahlele finally got rewarded for their persistence when Makgopa placed the ball beyond the reach of Khune off a cross from Joslin Kamatuka.
Chiefs almost reclaimed their lead in the stoppage time but Masuluke was alert to save Billiat’s left foot shocker as both teams settle for a point.
In their next match, Amakhosi host Cape Town City next Wednesday. goal.com