by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – AN inspired goalkeeping performance and a brilliant individual effort guided Kaizer Chiefs to a 1-0 win over Orlando Pirates in an Absa Premiership match at the FNB Stadium on Saturday.
Nigerian goalkeeper, Daniel Akpeyi, and midfielder Lebogang Manyama were the heroes for Chiefs in this Soweto Derby.
Pirates dominated the opening exchanges with Chiefs intent to sit back and catch them on the break.
In one such attack, Chiefs had a penalty appeal turned down in the tenth minute as Vincent Pule appeared to have handled a goal-bound shot.
Five minutes later at the other end, Akpeyi saved point-blank from the league’s leading goalscorer, Gabadinho Mhango, after a layoff from Luvuyo Memela.
The giant Nigerian goal minder had to be alert in the 28th minute to smother a shot from close range by Thembinkosi Lorch.
George Maluleka shot narrowly wide a minute later after a quickly-taken setpiece.
That brief spell by Chiefs paid off in the 30th minute after a brilliant individual effort by Manyama.
Unmarked outside the penalty box, the midfielder took a few steps towards goal before letting loose a shot past the backtracking opposition defence and beyond Wayne Sandilands in goals for the Buccaneers.
Manyama could have doubled Amakhosi’s lead in the 37th minute but his free-kick flew narrowly high.
Chiefs’ introduction of Zimbabwean star, Khama Billiat, nearly paid off in the 50th minute when he beat the offside trap only for a timely tackle by Ntsikilelo Nyauza kept Pirates in the match.
Defender Eric Mathoho wasted another opportunity to double Chiefs’ lead when he headed off-target from unmarked from a corner.
Then came the highlight of the match-Akpeyi saving three times in succession to deny the Buccaneers the equalizer.
He saved point blank from Lorch and blocked rebound from Memela.
With his Man-of-the-Match performance, the Nigerian silenced his detractors who were against his inclusion in the side ahead of South African international, Itumeleng Khune.
Akpeyi would later pull off another brilliant save to deny Fortune Makaringe as the hosts threw everything at Chiefs in search of an equalizer.
Six minutes of injury time was not enough for Pirates to restore parity as the visitors extended their lead at the top to seven points.
By securing three points, Chiefs secured a rare double over their fiercest rivals after the earlier encounter finished 3-2 in their favour.
Pirates: Sandilands, Dube, Maela, Jele, Nyauza, Motshwari, Lorch, Makaringe, Mhango, Memela, Pule.
Subs: Delle, Ndengane, Mabasa, Mako, Ndlovu, Dlamini, Mulenga.
Chiefs: Akpeyi, Moleko, Frosler, Mathoho, Cardoso, Katsande, Maluleka, Baccus, Castro, Manyama, Nurkovic.
Subs: Khune, Parker, Billiat, Ntiya-Ntiya, Akumu, Sasman, Zuma.
– CAJ News