Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 Chippa United: Billiat silences critics as Amakhosi return to winning ways
Samir Nurkovic Khama Billiat Lebogang Manyama - Kaizer Chiefs
The Glamour Boys maintained their spot at the top of the standings with a win over the Chilli Boys

Kaizer Chiefs moved to within touching distance of the PSL title with a 1-0 win over Chippa United at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night, and remain in top spot on the standings heading into the final day of the season.

Khama Billiat scored the only goal of the game early in the first half after being teed-up by Samir Nurkovic, and Chiefs will now end their five-year wait for the title if they defeat Baroka on Saturday, providing Mamelodi Sundowns do not beat Black Leopards and overturn a three-goal goal-difference deficit.

Chippa United, on the other hand, aren't safe yet from relegation as they needed at least a point to be certain of top-flight football next season. 

The major talking point was around the return of Itumeleng Khune into the starting line-up for the first time in almost a year for Amakhosi's league matches. 

Khune last featured in the league for Chiefs in September when he had to be substituted after sustaining a shoulder injury against Baroka. 

And with Daniel Akpeyi injured, Ernst Middendorp had to choose between Khune and Bruce Bvuma and he opted for experience and the veteran goalkeeper was also handed the captain's armband. 

After a frantic start to the first half, Chiefs opened the scoring in the ninth minute through Billiat

Reeve Frosler, handed a more attacking role once again, played a floating cross into the box but Nurkovic failed to get a clean header on it. 

However, Erick Mathoho, high up the field at the time, kept the ball alive and played it back into the penalty box and Nurkovic was in the right place at the time to set up Billiat, who poked the ball into an empty net to make it 1-0.  

This was Billiat's second goal of the season after much criticism from a section of Amakhosi fans.

Chippa United took the game to Chiefs but Middendorp's charges gave them no space until midway through the first half when they got a free-kick outside the box. 

Ruzaigh Gamaldien stepped up and tested Khune but the veteran goalkeeper punched the ball back into play before the danger was cleared by Willard Katsande. 

Khune was hardly tested afterwards but there was a moment of madness toward the end of the first 45 minutes when he came all the way to collect but had doubts and the ball ended up being won by Chippa United players. 

And with Khune off his line, Gamaldien attempted a curling effort, only for Daniel Cardoso to clear the ball off the line. 

But before then, Billiat should have scored from close range after managing to get behind the Chippa defence but he ballooned his effort wide and high with only Veli Mothwa to beat.  

The second half saw Chiefs momentarily put the foot off the gas as they went back to their usual defensive mode with defenders playing long balls to the attackers. 

That tactic gave Chippa some hope as they knocked it around nicely through Kelvin Moyo and Kurt Leintjies.

There were a few scary moments inside the Amakhosi box with the likes of Nurkovic returning to lend a helping hand at the back. 

Chiefs then used the speed of Billiat to launch attacks while Frosler's job was made easier by the fact that his midfield teammates played the ball to him more often on the left-wing. 

Chippa were reduced to 10 men after Tercious Malepe was given his marching orders for a foul on Billiat. 

The Zimbabwe international, looking for his second of the night, beat the offside trap and raced through on goal but he was brought down by Malepe on the edge of the box and the referee didn't hesitate but show him the red card. 

At this stage, Chippa were a goal and a man down and therefore needed to change their game plan to soak up the pressure from Chiefs.    

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Chippa United thought they had found the equaliser in the 79th minute but the goal was denied as the referee felt Khune was impeded inside the box.

Elvis Moyo was also sent off for a brutal challenge on Ramahlwe Mphahlele as Chippa United finished the game with nine in-field players. 

Ultimately, Chiefs held on to their lead to register a narrow win and maintain their spot at the top of the standings before Saturday's season finale.