Chiefs under the cosh

Leonardo Castro of Kaizer Chiefs during the Absa Premiership match against Baroka FC on Tuesday night
Leonardo Castro of Kaizer Chiefs during the Absa Premiership match against Baroka FC on Tuesday night
Image: Philip Maeta/Gallo Images

Kaizer Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas will argue that his new dawn at Naturena is experiencing teething problems, but the harsh reality is that Amakhosi are sitting fourth from the bottom on the standings after three Absa Premiership starts.

It is still early in the season and there is a possibility of improvements in coming months, but as a result of the lively 1-1 draw with Baroka FC at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Tuesday night, they have accumulated just two points from a possible nine.

Chiefs trail early pacesetters Bidvest Wits and Bloemfontein Celtic, who have pocketed six points from their opening two matches, and it does not get any easier for them in the next league match on Friday when they visit struggling Maritzburg United.

Maritzburg have lost their opening matches and will fancy their chances of registering their first three points of the campaign against a Chiefs side that is clearly a work in progress under Solinas, whose arrival at the club was met with mixed reactions.

Baroka have moved up one place to sixth on the standings as a result of the draw with four points and they will be looking for their second win of the season when they take on rivals Polokwane City in the Limpopo derby on Saturday.

The opening goal arrived in the 35th minute when Chiefs defender Daniel Cardoso was beaten by the bounce of the ball before heading into his own net, beating his goalkeeper, Itumeleng Khune, who moved off of his line to help him clear the danger.

Amakhosi pulled one back through Siphiwe Tshabalala’s well-taken free kick from the edge of the box that got the better of the Baroka defensive wall and goalkeeper Ayanda Dlamini, who got his hands on the ball before it crossed the line two minutes before the halftime break.

In the opening half, both teams had a few other chances.

The notable one for Baroka was midfielder Mduduzi Mdantsane, whose shot went agonisingly close to the upright after 11 minutes with just Khune to beat.

Leonardo Castro’s closerange header from a corner kick taken by Khama Billiat bounced off defender Hassan Banda to safety, sparing the blushes of goalkeeper Dlamini, who missed the ball.

Two minutes after the break, Baroka missed a golden opportunity to take the lead when Mpho Kgaswane was denied by the upright after he received a cross from the left flank by Talent Chawaphwa.

Chiefs also threatened on a few occasions but could not find the winner.