Coach Cavin Johnson made good on his pledge to give the Khosi Nation a Christmas present of three DStv Premiership points, as Kaizer Chiefs cruised to a comfortable 1-0 win over Richards Bay at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
Nkosingiphile Ngcobo’s 42nd minute winner earned Chiefs a third successive victory in the league, and a third clean sheet to boot. The result keeps Amakhosi in 6th place in the standings with 23 points from their 15 games.
On a stiflingly hot day, the home team took the early initiative, with Christian Saile breaking down the right wing on four minutes and crossing a smidgin too far for Jasond Gonzalez to connect in the six-yard box. Three minutes later, Edson Castillo saw a shot fly narrowly over the bar, and Pule Mmodi made some incisive forays in from the left, only to be blocked at the last on two occasions.
It took until the 23rd minute for Richards Bay to pose any threat, as Sanele Barns unleashed a shot from outside the box that stung the palms of Bruce Bvuma, who did well to repel the swerving ball. Saile had a great chance to put Chiefs ahead in the 41st minute, cleverly creating an opening but shooting into the side netting.
A minute later, though, Ngcobo picked the ball up in midfield and ran at the heart of the Natal Rich Boys’ defence. As they backed off, he steadied himself and fired the ball of unerring accuracy into the bottom corner of Salim Magoola’s net to send Amakhosi into the break a goal to the good. Saile came close to setting up Gonzalez for a second early in the second half. However, after getting to the bye-line, he pulled the ball behind the Colombian striker, and the ball was cleared.
As the oppressive heat took its toll, the tempo of the match decreased and Chiefs were able to see out the second half without any real challenge posed by the visitors. Although the margin of victory was slight, it belied the ease with which Amakhosi strolled through their final home match of the year.