JUSTICE was served after Kaizer Chiefs beat Limpopo visitors Black Leopards 2-1 in a pulsating league match to return to the domestic premiership summit at Soccer City last night.
The two sides returned to the scene of their abandoned match on Saturday and an 11th minute penalty from Bernard Parker gave Chiefs the early lead after Ernot Dzaga clumsily brought down live-wire George Lebese inside the area.
Chiefs had to wait until the 70th minute before Siphiwe Tshabalala finally calmed the hosts’ nerves and scored the second strike following some fine work from striker Kingston Nkatha.
The workaholic Nkatha pressured Leopards goalkeeper Ayanda Mtshali in the air and the frantic keeper dropped the ball in the grateful Chiefs striker’s path. The Chiefs forward unselfishly passed the ball to Tshabalala and the midfielder put the ball in the back of the net.
Former Chiefs player Abbas Amidu returned to haunt his erstwhile club when he scored what proved to be the visitors’ consolation late in the game.
That Amidu strike ensured a nervous finish for the hosts as their rearguard was suspect all night and Leopards always looked like they could score an equaliser.
But Chiefs will feel that last night’s result went some way in making up for the abandoned league match between the two sides that was called off because of bad weather while Chiefs were ahead on Saturday night.
Chiefs were leading 2-0 after goals from the selfsame Parker and Nkatha when a hail storm forced the match to be abandoned in the 34th minute.
Chiefs fans were distressed when the Premier Soccer League issued a statement confirming that Saturday’s result would not stand and the two sides would start from 0-0.
Leopards coach Sunday Chidzambwa was honest enough to admit that Chiefs would have buried his charges under an avalanche if Saturday’s match was played to its completion.
Chidzambwa was clever enough to effect changes to his starting 11 and Leopards — who were decked out in an unfamiliar bright pink strip — were a very different side last night.
On a beautiful Johannesburg evening, Chidzambwa introduced Tiyani Mabunda, Karabo Tshepe, Ernot Dzaga and Joshua Obaje for Jean Munganga, Mxolisi Gumede, Moses Kwena and Thomas Madimba.
The changes certainly had the desired effect as Leopards matched Chiefs in all departments and they could have even managed to steal a point with a bit of luck.
Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter made two changes of his own and started with midfielders Josta Dladla and Siphiwe Tshabalala in place of Siyabonga Nkosi and Abia Nale.
Nkosi suffered an injury on the eve of this encounter while Nale was relegated to the stands in a tactical switch by the Chiefs coach.