Mphela scored his third goal in three consecutive games as Chiefs edged AmaTuks 1-0 at the Mbombela Stadium on Tuesday nightKaizer Chiefs headed into this league encounter with their thoughts on the Sundowns-SuperSport game in Tshwane, but they needed to at least do their job against AmaTuks.
AmaKhosi dictated the pace of the game with their short-passing display in the first 20 minutes, and often threatened to open the scoring and settle the nerves.
However, the home side's resolute defending kept the visitors at bay with AmaKhosi struggling to get behind the AmaTuks' back-four, let alone get a shot on target.
Siyabonga Shoyisa nearly turned his clearance into his own net from Siphiwe Tshabalala's clever lob that was meant for Renielwe Letsholonyane in the 29th minute, but Grant Kekana arrived before everyone else, and cleared for a corner.
Tshabalala had his corner cleared off the line by Washington Arubi, who missed the ball completely with his fists before it hit his ribs and Mphela's could only head wide from the rebound.
Geoffrey Massa out-paced Kgotso Moleko into the Chiefs' penalty area a few minutes later, but his attempt was easily saved by Itumeleng Khune.
Both teams couldn't unlock each other in the second half, with Chiefs' only shot on target in the opening minutes of the half, coming in the 56th minute from Tshabalala's out-of-the-box shot.
The home side did threaten Chiefs' goal on a number of ocassions, but there was not enough danger to trouble Khune, who most of the time enjoyed being a spectator.
Katlego Mphela found himself in a great goalscroring position having done well to shrug Monyai off the ball, but Buhle Mkhwanazi produced a tackle of the match, taking the ball off Mphela's feet.
Atusaye Nyondo thought he had scored in the 68th minute, but he was adjudged to have been in an offside position, much to the relief of AmaKhosi fans.
Chiefs were awarded a penalty in the 75th minute of the match after Moleko was brought down inside the box, and Katlego Mphela stepped up to give the defending champions a vital lead for his third goal in his last three competitive games.
Mphela should have grabbed his second of the night deep in stoppage time following Kingston Nkhatha's blocked attempt, but the former Sundowns marksman blasted his shot over the bar.