Platinum Stars vs Kaizer Chiefs

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0 - 2
(HT 0 - 0)

G. Maluleka 51', 90'
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Platinum Stars 0 - 2 Kaizer Chiefs: Maluleka brace crushes defending MTN8 champions

Thabiso Mosala
16 Aug 2014 22:12:12
George Maluleka scored his first ever goals for Kaizer Chiefs as the visitors bagged two crucial away goals, beating Platinum Stars 2-0 in the semifinals of the MTN8

The former SuperSport United midfielder joined Chiefs in January but struggled to make an impact at Naturena.

But a double strike from the crafty playmaker ensured Chiefs walk away already in a commanding position ahead of the second leg of the last four encounter.

Stars will be left with a mountain to climb and will have to outscore the Soweto giants by more than two goals to book their spot in the final of the tournament they won last season.

Amakhosi made the brighter start and had Erick Mathoho and Maluleka go close inside eight minutes as Stars found the going tough from the start.

The hosts, however, quickly settled down and had two great chances fall their way in the space of two minutes.

Tintswalo Tshabalala forced Itumeleng Khune into action on 20 minutes when his glancing header from a Vuyo Mere free-kick looked like finding the back of the net.

From the subsequent corner, Robert Ng’ambi smacked the crossbar with a thunderous effort, coming even closer than Tshabalala had come seconds earlier.

Chiefs’ centre-back pairing of Tefu Mashamaite and Mathoho were struggling to cope with an onslaught from Stars, who were doing all the attacking after 20 minutes.

Wave after wave of attacks caused problems at the back and before long, Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter hurriedly instructed substitute defender Morgan Gould to warm-up, in an attempt to spark his two stoppers at the back to pull up their socks.

End-to-end action followed but neither could find the final pass as the game edged closer to the half-time break.

Three minutes from the interval, in-form midfielder Mandla Masango found a great cross from Sibusiso Gaxa, but his header could only find the safe hands of goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane, who made a straighforward save.

Dikwena suffered a heavy blow on the stroke of half-time when the lost the country’s most in-form striker during the early stages, Ndumiso Mabena, but fortunately for Allan Freese, the former Orlando Pirates attacker was able to recover from a clash of heads during the half-time recess and returned for the second period.

Having looked dangerous in the opening 45, Chiefs eventually broke the deadlock just six minutes into the second half, as Maluleka thundered home a volley from close range.

A Chiefs corner cause chaos at the back as Kingston Nkhatha’s header forced a clearance off the line from Luvolwethu Mpeta. His header, though, fell straight to Maluleka, who made no mistake, hitting the shot first time and bulging the net to hand the visitors the vital lead.

Predictable, the Glamour Boys sat back somewhat after their opener as the game slumped into a lull, with Stars unable to get through a resolute Amakhosi defence.

The visitors should have had two on 75 minutes when a superb breakaway put Reneilwe Letsholonyane in front of goal with no-one to beat, but the Bafana Bafana international squandered his chance and blasted over the bar when it looked harder to miss.

Stars replied with a glorious chance of their own, but a lack of compsure cost Mpeta, who flashed a shot high and wide of the mark when he should have made the goalkeeper work.

Maluleka wrapped-up a brilliant individual display in the 90th minutes, slotting home a superb free-kick from just outside the area, opening up a two goal cushion and for once, keeping his detractors at bay with a marvelous performance.