Royal AM completed a DStv Premiership ‘double’ over Kaizer Chiefs, defeating the Soweto giants 1-0 at Chatsworth Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Victor Letsoalo – who scored twice in Thwihli Thwahla’s famous 4-1 win at FNB Stadium back in September – haunted the Amakhosi again, scoring the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in the first half.
The result sees the top-flight rookies rise to second place on the log, 17 points off the pace of leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, while Chiefs drop to fourth spot – one point behind their vanquishers, but with one game in hand over them.
After a cagey start, the first clear chance arrived on 17 minutes and went the way of Chiefs. A fine pass from Njabulo Blom put Keagan Dolly in behind the Royal AM defence, though Samuel Manganyi did well to chase him down and deny a chance to shoot on goal.
Dolly nonetheless played in a low cross for Leonardo Castro, who poked an effort on target and saw the ball deflected onto the near post via goalkeeper Hugo Nyame, with Royal then able to clear from the rebound.
The Amakhosi threatened again on the half-hour mark, with Reeve Frosler beating both Nyame and Jorry Matjila to a clever ball over the top from Nkosingiphile Ngcobo, but the right wingback’s lob travelled wide of the target.
Royal struggled to string together any notable attacks, but they were awarded a penalty on 37 minutes when Bernard Parker felled Zukhile Mkhize with a clumsy challenge from behind. Victor Letsoalo coolly converted from the spot to put the hosts 1-0 up.
Thwihli Thwahla should have doubled their lead when a quick one-two between Matjila and Ndumiso Mabena on 43 minutes gave the former a sight of goal from the left of the penalty area, but he could only shoot into the side netting.
The break arrived with Royal 1-0 up, but again the first chance after the restart went to Chiefs: Dolly’s superb cross whipped from the left flank was mere inches away from being turned home by Castro, who threw himself at the ball but couldn’t quite make contact.
On the hour mark, Castro made way in attack for the return of Khama Billiat, and nine minutes later the Zimbabwean played a dangerous ball into the box for Ngcobo to latch onto, but the young midfielder was denied by a brilliant challenge from Thato Lingwati.
On 72 minutes, Royal and Letsoalo were inches away from a second goal, with Mabena teeing up his fellow attacker to shoot from the edge of the box – his effort was beyond the reach of goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, but clattered back into play off the underside of the crossbar.
Chiefs pushed hard for an equaliser in the latter stages of the match, but they created no clear chances with which to test Nyame, leaving Royal to claim a narrow victory.
The teams will have their final DStv Premiership matches of the year on Wednesday 22 December with Royal visiting Baroka FC and Chiefs hosting Maritzburg United.
Royal AM (1) 1 (Letsoalo 38’ pen)
Kaizer Chiefs 0
Royal: Nyame, Dlamini, Lingwati, Manganyi, Mkhize, Mashikinya (Msomi 90+4’), Mahlasela, Matjila, Potsane (Masuku 89’), Mabena (Sera 89’), Letsoalo (Mahashe 76’)
Chiefs: Akpeyi, Ngezana, Cardoso, Dube, Frosler, Blom, Nk. Ngcobo (Nange 76’), Ntiya-Ntiya, Parker (Manyama 76’), Dolly, Castro (Billiat 61’).© Backpage TXT