KAIZER CHIEFS 1
0 GOLDEN ARROWS
Competition: Absa Premiership
Date: Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Venue: Orlando Stadium
The magical carriage ride of Durban Cinderella club Golden Arrows came to a summary halt at an electric Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night when Kaizer Chiefs ended the unbeaten run of the Premier League leaders with a hard-earned 1-0 victory.
There was little seperating the teams in an engrossing, clinical encounter until the 70th minute when referee Daniel Bennett awarded Chiefs a controversial penalty for a handball when the ball had been blasted directly towards the body of the Arrows’ defender.
Although Helton da Rocha brought off a sensational save from new Chiefs striker, Zito Ogbanna, the Durban club were still seemingly celebrating the Brazilian goalkeeper’s stunning feat when The Amakhosi opened the score after the resultant corner to gain revenge for a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Arrows in the opening round of the Telkom Knockout competition.
The corner from Simphiwe Tshabalala was headed into the net by former Jomo Cosmos defender Valery Nahayo through a packed goalmouth of Arrows’ defenders who were momentarily concentrating on other matters at the time.
And while the goal was a stimulating morale booster for Chiefs, who proceeded to control the remainder of the proceedings, it also seemed to demoralise Arrows while raising a question mark against the log leaders ability to fight back in the face of adversity.
A 30 000 crowd roared on Chiefs in the emotional return to the venue where they enjoyed some of their most notable triumphs in the 1970s and 1980s and erupted into joyous celebration at the final whistle.
After a dismal start to the League programme, Chiefs have now forged to within a point of the log leaders in a title race that has now taken on the trappings of a true cliff-hanger, with no more than two points seperating the top six teams.
And it would be wrong to rule out Arrows as genuine title contenders in spite of surrendering their unbeaten record, with the club a well-oiled, disciplined and inventive combination who gave as good as they got for the opening three-quarters of the match.
Chiefs, for their part, should have increased their lead in the closing stages when Ogbanna and Tshabalala missed gift opportunities. But no one in The Amakhosi camp was worrying over-much after Bennett blew the final whistle.