Playing with a weakened side as coach Ernst Middendorp rested some of his key performers this season, Kaizer Chiefs did just enough to beat Chippa United 2-0 and collect the full points and open a seven points lead atop the Absa Premiership standings.
Dumisani Zuma scored a second half brace at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Wednesday night to help Amakhosi to their eighth win of the season which keeps them on course and confirms them as credible challengers for the league title this season.
But the home side will feel ‘Lady Luck’ turned her back on them as they had to make all three of their substitutions in the first half – and they were all forced.
Chiefs started with a weakened team, with some of the regulars like Khama Billiat, Daniel Akpeyi, Lebogang Manyama, Reeve Frosler, Yagan Sasman, George Maluleka and Erick Mathoho probably rested to be fit and ready for Saturday’s Soweto Derby.
But it was the Chilli Boys who settled early and got their attack going with Silas Maziya and Boikanyo Komane forcing Bruce Bvuma into earning his keep with some stinging longa range rockets. But the young keeper proved equal to task on both occasions.
The home side were also forced into an early substitution with Elvis Moyo unable to continue and his place taken by Sandile Mthethwa. They also had to make another just a minute to half time when Komane and Frederic Nsabiyumva were stretched off. It was probably the first time that a team made all their substitutions in the first half.
Siyabonga Ngezana, who was one of those who got a rare start, came close to showing that like Mathoho, he can defend and well as help out in attack but his header on 29 minutes going over.
Samir Nurkovic came closest to opening the scoring with his cheekily taken snap shot shaving the top of the cross bar and away from goal, with Patrick Tignyemb lucky not to pick the ball from his net.
With a weakened defence after two of their defenders were sent off, Chippa managed to hold off their visitors, whose display lacked fluidity, in early exchanges in the second half. But they were finally broken when Dumisani Zuma ran through and rifled a low shot past Tignyemb 21 minutes after the break.
The home side then went on an offensive, creating a few moments where they could have scored an equalizer but it was not to be.
Zuma completed his brace just as the Chilli Boys thought things could not get any worse for them on a night they will want to quickly forget.