Kaizer Chiefs claimed a hard-earned point in a goalless stalemate against Stellenbosch FC at the Danie Craven Stadium on the edge of the town of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape. After a first half which did not create much in the way of direct goalmouth action, the second half saw both teams have a host of opportunities that could have won this DStv Premiership match. Chiefs ended in the ascendency but were unable to turn home the numerous chances that they had later on.
In 16th minute, Samir Nurković managed to spring the Stellenbosch offside trap picking up a pass along the ground. He was uncertain as to whether he was on side or not. Once the referee allowed him to play on, he raced towards goal and shot from distance. His effort at goal was stopped by Lee Langeveldt who got down to collect the ball.
In 27th minute, both teams tried their luck from distance. First Philani Zulu let fly from just outside the left edge of the Stellenbosch 18-yard area. His effort went high and wide of goal. From a similar distance and a similar position at the other end, Stanley Dimgba chanced his luck with an attempt at goal. The Nigerian was thwarted by his countryman in the Chiefs goal, Daniel Akpeyi, who made a comfortable stop.
Just past the half hour mark, the Chiefs keeper was quick off the mark as he raced off his line to stop a ball that was trying to pick out Ashley Du Preez. The Chiefs keeper came off his line to thwart the attack getting to the ball ahead of the Stellenbosch attacker. He used some nifty footwork to work away the danger.
In the 36th minute Nkosingiphile Ngcobo picked up the ball just inside the Stellenbosch half and played a short pass to Nurković, who returned the ball to him and he went for goal with a rasping drive which went just wide of Langeveldt’s left hand up right. There was a scare on the Chiefs goal in the 39th minute when Dimgba came storming down the right, cut along the by line before laying the ball off to Junior Mendieta. He could not properly connect with the ball and he scuffed his shot which went just past Anthony Akumu Agay’s left hand upright.
Chiefs troubled the Stellenbosch goal four minutes before the end of the first half with a pair of corners, both from the right taken by Ngcobo. The first saw Langeveldt having to punch the ball off his goal-line as it curled in viciously. Then he missed the next one as he came out to collect the ball and it slipped through his fingers. He got a let off as the ball bounced onto the head of Agay and out for a goal kick.
In the final minute of the half, Lebogang Manyama turned the ball towards goal as the ball came from Robyn Johannes stood static. Nurković drifted in ahead of Sibusiso Mthethwa, stuck out his leg and managed to then get the ball past Langeveldt. It just escaped him at the vital moment as the tried to push the ball home. The final act of the first half saw Akpeyi clear the ball at the feet of Mendieta after he had again been set up by Dimgba.
The first half ended 0-0.
Three minutes after the restart, a corner from the right for Chiefs by Manyama saw the ball flick off the head of Mulomowandau Mathoho and it bounced out of the Stellenbosch 18-yard area, where Happy Mashiane was lurking and he connected with the ball on the bounce. He drove it powerfully towards goal with his left foot back towards goal where he had Langeveldt jumping into the air to knock the ball away.
Chiefs were then on the back foot in the 51st minute, Manyama was pickpocketed of the ball by Du Preez on the right by line. Akpeyi rushed out to close the angle for him. He managed to turn played the ball into the danger area and found Leletu Skelem who pushed the ball towards what looked like an empty goal, but Mathoho got back to make a near goal-line clearance to get rid of the danger.
Two minutes later, a short clearance by Siyabonga Ngezana fell to Marc Van Heerden who sent in a delightful cross from the left where he found the on running Dimgba, whose header from close range went over Akpeyi’s goal and out for a goal kick.
In the final quarter Chiefs launched an attack through the center. Ngcobo who had the vision to notice Nurković to his left, played the ball to the Chiefs skipper, who in turn moved up before whipping in a cross which evaded the Stellenbosch rear guard. The on-rushing Leonardo Castro was unable to make vital contact with the ball as the ball drifted away from the goal to the opposite end.
Chiefs came within a whisker of taking the lead in the 82nd minute. Ngezana played the ball forward to Njabulo Blom down the right – he was able to cross the ball into the six-yard area despite Alan Robertson standing in his way. Nurković managed time the flight of the ball and connected with his header. His header at goal went inches past a stranded Langeveldt. Into the final five minutes of the game after a goal mouth melee, Ngezana managed to toe poke the ball home. He did get it past the Stellenbosch keeper but Langeveldt managed to jump back and dragged the ball back close to the goal-line.
Despite their strong finish to the game and laying siege to the Stellenbosch goal in the latter stages of the game, Chiefs were unfortunate not to have picked up all three points on their travel, having had numerous chances to have closed out the game. For Chiefs though they will extend their unbeaten run to four games in the league as they now look forward to their next game on Tuesday at home against Baroka.