Kaizer Chiefs have stumbled in their quest to lift the ABSA Premiership trophy in 2020 going down 2-1 to bogey team Maritzburg United.
Kaizer Chiefs slip up
Maritzburg United ensured they would hold onto their sixth place with the victory that has left Kaizer Chiefs with a seven-point lead over Mamelodi Sundowns, who have a game in hand on Amakhosi.
Daniel Akpeyi returned to his place in Kaizer Chiefs’ goal after Itumeleng Khune’s return to action in the Nedbank Cup last week. Up front Khama Billiat played alongside target-men Samir Nurkovic and Leonardo Castro.
The Team of Choice brought back talismanic striker Judas Moseamedi who has proven a handful for Chiefs in the last two meetings between the clubs.
United had a cup win and a home draw in the bank against Kaizer Chiefs already this season, rising to the occasion of the fixture each time.
Kaizer Chiefs started the brighter of the teams and Maritzburg United’s defence left plenty to be desired and breathed a sigh of relief when Billiat fired a shot wide in the early going.
The Team of Choice grew into the match though and on the half hour mark were presented with their first chance but striker Daylon Claasen couldn’t hit the target.
United’s keeper Richard Ofori was the first to have to make a save when smart work from Billiat afforded Nurkovic time and space to shoot. Ofori saved well though and the match went into half-time deadlocked at 0-0.
After the restart Chiefs dominated possession but looked out of ideas in the attacking third. In the 62nd minute, Ernst Middendorp responded hauling off Castro and bringing on Dumisani Zuma to take his place in Kaizer Chiefs front three.
The change had yet to significantly alter proceedings when Maritzburg United seized the initiative. Claasen pounced on a mistake by Akpeyi to put the visitors 1-0 ahead at the FNB Stadium.
Minutes later Claasen was on hand again to complete his brace with a headed goal against a seemingly stunned and ineffective Kaizer Chiefs defence.
Kaizer Chiefs pulled one back from a set-piece 12 minutes from time with Nurkovic getting on the end of a corner from Lebogang Manyama to give them hope of taking something out of the match.
Willard Katsande went close in the dying stages but Maritzburg United held on to claim a 2-1 win that keeps Kaizer Chiefs within reach of their title rivals.
Chiefs next league game will be the Soweto Derby against Orlando Pirates on 29 February.