Marumo Gallants and Kaizer Chiefs played to a feisty but frustrating 0-0 draw in their DStv Premiership clash at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday evening.
The result, which saw both teams have a man sent off in the final 15 minutes of regulation time, does little to help either Bahlabane ba Ntwa or the Amakhosi.
Gallants are still waiting for their first league win of the season and only rise off the foot of the table thanks to goal difference, while Chiefs have gone three matches without a victory and sit in a lowly 13th place – a full eight points off the pace set by leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.
The teams cancelled each other out early on, before Gallants had the first clear scoring chance on 14 minutes: Katlego Otladisa got on the end of Mpho Mvelase’s cross from the right and powered a header on target, only for Chiefs goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi to make an excellent one-handed save.
Marumo continued to look the more dangerous team in attack, with Celimpilo Ngema letting fly with a shot just past the half-hour mark which forced Akpeyi into a parrying save, and no home player was able to capitalise on the rebound.
Chiefs, for their part, were mostly restricted to long-range efforts, such as a well-struck shot from midfielder Cole Alexander on 38 minutes, but the ball flashed off target and was no trouble for Gallants ‘keeper Washington Arubi.
The first half came to a close with the teams locked at 0-0, though Bahlabane ba Ntwa had been the more proactive and impressive outfit.
The second stanza saw the Amakhosi make a tactical switch, with Bernard Parker replacing Lebogang Manyama in attack, though Gallants continued to create more going forward, including a header wide of goal from Ngema after meeting Thabo Mnyamane’s cross on 52 minutes.
Chiefs gradually began to find more rhythm in attack, with Keagen Dolly seeing more of the ball and trying to orchestrate passing moves, while Khama Billiat was the repeated victim of some tough tackling from the hosts’ defenders, but continued to drive forward whenever given the chance.
Yet the Soweto side’s momentum was halted on 75 minutes when they were reduced to 10 men, with defender Sifiso Hlanti sent off after picking up a second yellow card.
Gallants almost took immediate advantage, with Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo’s free kick picking out Ngema, who directed a header on target but was denied by a brilliant save from Akpeyi, with the ‘keeper reacting sharply to palm the ball onto the post.
Ngema himself was then dismissed in the 80th minute, shown a straight red card for unnecessarily kicking a loose ball at a prone Billiat – the Zimbabwean made the most of the incident, but a sending off was the correct call regardless.
At 10 men apiece, the game could have opened up in the dying minutes, but neither side was able to seize the initiative and claim what would have been a morale-boosting win.
Chiefs had scoring chances for centre-backs Eric Mathoho and Daniel Cardoso in the final minute of regulation time, but the former was denied by a great save from Arubi and the latter failed to hit the target.
The teams will return to DStv Premiership action next weekend, with Chiefs away to AmaZulu on Saturday 3 October and Gallants visiting Golden Arrows the following day.
Gallants: Arubi, Mvelase, Nkili, Nonyane, Ravhuhali, Ndlondlo (Mabotja 90+5’), Timm (Kumalo 90+5’), Mnyamane, Otladisa (Manaka 79’), Ngema, Dion (Koapeng 65’)
Chiefs: Akpeyi, Frosler, Mathoho, Cardoso, Blom, Nk. Ngcobo (Kambole 90+1’), Alexander, Hlanti, Billiat, Dolly, Manyama (Parker 46’).
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