Amakhosi looked to keep their pursuit of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) summit going as they locked horns with the Polokwane-based outfit for the 15th time in all competitions.
However, the game was premised on rather strange circumstances as both sides were forced to play the match behind closed doors due to the recent punishment which was handed down to Chiefs following the ugly scenes that had unfolded at the Moses Mabhida Stadium towards the end of last season.
Nonetheless, Chiefs were determined not to let the eerie atmosphere deter them as head coach Giovanni Solinas refrained from making too many changes to the side which drew 0-0 with Highlands Park in midweek.
Birthday boy Daniel Cardoso, dropped out of the starting XI with Mario Booysen coming in, while Ryan Moon led the line alongside the likes of Dumisani Zuma, Lebogang Manyama and Khama Billiat. Moon was immediately in the thick of things as his header at the near post missed the target.
Meanwhile, Rise and Shine were buoyed on by their recent draw with SuperSport United and all eyes were on the club’s top scorer Jabulani Maluleke.
Polokwane City were keen to sit back during the opening stages which allowed Chiefs to enjoy the bulk of the possession. City attacker Vusimuzi Mngomezulu in particular, was a danger down the right-hand side and fed several dangerous balls into the box which were wasted as there was no one to capitalise on his creativity.
Although, both sides created opportunities which showed promise, it took 20 minutes for either goalkeeper to be tested. Last season’s joint top scorer Rodney Ramagalela let watched his shot from way outside the box easily swallowed by Itumeleng Khune.
According to statistics, Chiefs have been most dangerous between minutes 30 and 45 as they have scored over 38.5% percent of their goals during that period. This saw Chiefs look to end the half strongly and take a slender lead into the break. But they were constantly thwarted as the Polokwane City backline remained resolute.
At the other end, Ramagalela was a constant danger and he had another chance on goal but this time his header flew wide of Khune’s goal.
Nonetheless, with the half-time whistle imminent and both sides seemingly destined to head into the break deadlocked, City stunned Chiefs.
The impressive Mngomezulu watched his long-range effort curl into the top corner beating Khune hands down and leaving Chiefs shell shocked as they went into the break.
The resumption of the second half saw Chiefs back on the offensive as they were keen to turn their fortunes around. Solinas knew that no coach in PSL history has won the very next league game after winning the Coach of the Month crown, and this saw Chiefs play much higher up the field.
Khama Billiat was experiencing a rather quiet evening and he would eventually bring the game back to life as his free kick was beautifully saved by City keeper George Chigova.
Solinas then responded further by throwing on Gustavo Paez on the hour mark as he looked to add extra pace upfront.
While this gave Chiefs another attacking option as the Venezuelan was a more mobile striker, he struggled to break down a defence which has kept three clean sheets this season.
This saw Bernard Parker also thrown on in order for Chiefs to salvage something out of the contest. The veteran looked dangerous and tested Chigova with a long-range effort which the Zimbabwean was certainly up to the task.
Minutes later, Chiefs pinned back their opponents and the keeper was again called into action as he kept out George Maluleka’s powerful drive.
Although, Chiefs threw everything in search of a goal, it was not to be as City held on for victory and moved level on points with the Soweto giants.