Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 Baroka: Amakhosi’s win marred by controversial goal and Khune’s injury
Lebogang Manyama of Kaizer Chiefs celebrates goal with Khama Billiat, September 2019
Manyama has taken his tally of goals to three in the league following Amakhosi's narrow win over Bakgaga Ba Mphahlele at FNB Stadium

Kaizer Chiefs moved three points clear of second-placed Polokwane City with a 1-0 win over Baroka FC on Saturday night.

Lebogang Manyama’s scored the only goal of the game as Amakhosi made four wins from seven league matches this season to move to 16 points.

The goal raised concerns about the standard of refereeing in the PSL as Lazarous Kambole was clearly offside when Khama Billiat played a pass to him inside the Baroka box before Manyama slammed home the rebound.

But before then, captain Itumeleng Khune had to be substituted with a suspected groin injury.

This was a huge blow for the Soweto giants who had just welcomed him back from a long-term shoulder injury which kept him out for nine months.

Ernst Middendorp named a starting line-up without a natural striker as he opted to leave last week’s goalscorer Leonardo Castro on the bench.

For the first time this season, Samir Nurkovic was not in the matchday squad due to a head injury he sustained against AmaZulu in midweek.

The early stages saw Chiefs take the game to Baroka but the visitors’ defence stood firm and gave the likes of Manyama, Kambole and Billiat little freedom inside the box.

The next talking point was Khune’s injury in the 27th minute as Baroka began to play with more intent and started pinning Chiefs back.  

Khune went down as he was about to take a goal-kick and while there were fears he could have hurt his shoulder again, the experienced goalkeeper appeared to be holding his groin before being replaced by Daniel Akpeyi.

Chiefs then took the lead in the 39th minute through Manyama, who fired home from close for his third goal of the campaign.

However, the goal raised eyebrows. Billiat played a pass to Kambole after penetrating the Baroka defence, but replays show the Zambian was already in front of the ball and therefore should have been judged offside.

The goal stood and Chiefs went into the break leading Baroka 1-0, and they could clearly see themselves in pole position to beat a team that has given them problems in the past.

In the nine previous games, Baroka won four compared to Amakhosi’s two while the other three matches ended in draws.

Baroka came out of the blocks quickly at the start of the second half using the pace of Gerald Phiri Junior while Collins Makgaka dictated terms in midfield.

However, they hardly tested Akpeyi as the likes of Erick Mathoho and Daniel Cardoso marshalled the Amakhosi defence with ease.

What was evident though was Middendorp’s game plan to pack the midfield and deny Baroka any breathing space to play those passes upfront. 

Billiat beat Elvis Chipezeze with a well-struck attempt in the final 30 minutes of the game but the attacker was denied by the woodwork as Chiefs surged forward in search of a second goal.

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Baroka twice came close from snatching a point under the noses of Amakhosi but Akpeyi often stood firm to keep his side in the game with some brilliant saves. 

Phiri Jr. hit the crossbar in the closing stages of the encounter with Akpeyi well-beaten before Martin Nsimba slammed his attempt against the upright deep into stoppage time, much to Wedson Nyirenda's disbelief on the Baroka bench.

For Middendorp, this was a huge relief as he couldn't wait for the final whistle to go and claim three valuable points.    

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