Platinum Stars 0-1 Kaizer Chiefs: Shabba’s header lifts pressure off Komphela's shoulders
Siphiwe Tshabalala came off the bench to score the only goal of the game as Amakhosi finally ended their winless streak

Kaizer Chiefs needed a late second half goal from veteran winger Siphiwe Tshabalala to beat PSL strugglers Platinum Stars at the Royal Bafokeng.

The win took Amakhosi to second on the log, tied on points with leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, who are on 19 ahead of their Sunday’s league match at Golden Arrows.

The visitors appeared to be heading for another disappointing result as they struggled penetrate the home side’s defence for the better part of the game.

While Steve Komphela made a few changes his usual starting line-up, bringing back Gustavo Paez to lead the attack alongside Dumisani Zuma, he kept faith with the same formation.

Perhaps the 5-4-1 formation is to blame for Chiefs’ woes, because they no longer look threatening upfront, with their main concern seemingly at the back.

But Komphela would be pleased with his team’s performance this time around, especially as they ended the first 45 minutes with three shots on target, even without finding the back of the net.

The combination of Zuma and Paez failed to make any meaningful impact, as the two attackers looked more worried about getting into goalscoring positions than playing as a team.

For Roger de Sa and his Dikwena team, it was more about containing their opponents, and catching them on the counter which they often did without any success.

However, Bongi Ntuli, Robert Ng’ambi and Katlego Otladise gave Chiefs enough to think about with their menacing runs into the box, and had it not been for Teenage Hadebe’s perfect sliding tackle on the young Otladise, Dikwena would have gone into the break leading by at least a single goal.

The second half was a bit sloppy from both side, but Dikwena had two fantastic chances between the 50th and 60th minute as Chiefs were caught napping at the back.

Itumeleng Khune is one of the very few Chiefs players who continue to show the same hunger and determination to fight for the badge whenever he’s on the pitch.

And the 30-year-old skipper came to the party on both occasions, making two superb saves to deny Ntuli, who unleashed a thunderbolt from close range after beating his marker for pace on the far side.

Vuyo Mere saw his free-kick on the hour-mark expertly parried over the crossbar by Khune.

Chiefs upped the ante after the introduction of both Bernard Parker and Shabba. They started to attack more and looked dangerous in the final third. 

In fact, man of the match Philani Zulu was also instrumental in making sure that Chiefs pushed forward, although he sometimes left his teammates exposed defensively as he couldn't track back on time. 

His biggest contribution was a cross he whipped into the box 18 minutes from time. The cross found Shabba, who brilliantly headed the ball home to make it 1-0 to Chiefs. 

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Dikwena tried in vain to come back from 1-0 down, and credit should be given to Chiefs for keeping things nice and tight at the back in the remaining minutes. 

Komphela would be relieved to have finally ended the four-match winless streak which has led to growing calls for him to vacate his position.

For now, the aim will be to buy time by beating Ajax Cape Town in their final match of the year. That would allow Komphela to make reinforcements, especially upfront where they have been very poor in the past few games.

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