At Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane.
Kaizer Chiefs (0) 1
Tottenham Hotspur (0) 0
GEORGE Lebese came off from the bench to score the all important goal as Kaizer Chiefs register a deserving 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the opening match of the 2011 Vodacom Challege this afternoon.
The match at the sold-out Peter Mokaba Stadium in Limpopo’s capital city, Polokwane started on a blistering pace with the mighty Amakhosi showin g their determination to win the match from the word go.
Chiefs could have wrapped the match as early as the 10th minutes of the first half, but were let down by Siphiwe Tshabalala who beat two defenders before shooting wide with goalkeeper, Carlo Cudicini at his mercy.
Chiefs came to the spot again in the 15th minute, and this time with the newly signed Lehlohonolo Majoro, but his attempt was blocked into a corner kick by Michael Dawson in the 15th minute.
As if their missed chances in the earlier minutes were not enough, Tshabalala missed another golden opportunity when he shot wide in the 17th minute with the newly signed Lehohonolo Majoro adding to the head coach, Vladimir Vermezovic’s frustration after the former AmaZulu striker who finished as Usuthu’s leading goal-scorer with 14 goals flushed more opportunities, first in the 30th minute after having connected with a re-bounce following on Dominic Isaac’s attempt before he could missed another chance in the 35th minute, and this time after he connected a well taken cross from Motaung Jnr
Chiefs continued from where they left in the second half, but as it has been the case, the goals seemed to have deserted them with Majoro shoting straight into Cudicini’s hands in the 51st minute.
Hotspur’ chance came in the 67th minute when Peter Crouch sent a thunderous shot, but Itumeleng Khune was up to the task after denying the hard running star.
Tactical substitution that saw the Chiefs coach, Vermezovic replace six of his key men in the field in the likes of Tshabalala, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Motaung, Majoro and Josta Dladla and dominic Isaacs who made ways for Mthokozisi Yende, Abia Nale, George Lebese, Dominic Mateba and Tefu Mashamaite seemed to have brought more life and stability for Chiefs as they started to gain more confidence, much to the huge roaring Chiefs supporters.
Hotspur who later introduced Bongani Khumalo for Sebastan Basson were however not bothered by Chiefs’ threats and as they also had their fair chances with the likes Gareth Bale, Roman Paulychenko, Rafael van Dervaart and Crouch hot in the heels of the Chiefs defence.
Bale came close to scoring in the 90th minute after having taken defenders on a merry-go-round, but only to shoot wide with Khune lost.
Lebese finally proved that he was the best of them all when he slotted home a Knowledge Musona’s pass with an easily goal at the referee’s optional time. This after Musona had received a good pass from Nale before he could tap the ball to a well spaced Lebese who made no mistake to give Chiefs a deserving victory.
As for Hotspur, it is back to the drawing board as they prepares for their second match which will see them take on Orlando Pirates at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit this coming Wednesday.
After the Hotspur-Pirates match, it will be the Soweto derby wherein Chiefs will face Pirates on July 21 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in a match which will see the winner taking on Hotspur in the final match on July 23 at the Coca Cola Park in Johannesburg.