The Soweto derby #176 since 1970, was an unforgettable event at the FNB Stadium in Soweto. Kaizer Chiefs claimed all three points to make it 4 successive derby wins for the Glamour Boys against their rivals, Orlando Pirates. This was the first derby played post Covid, and the full capacity stadium proved that the fans were longing to return to the stadium after a two-year absence.
Pirates came into this match having lost midfield maestro, Miguel Timm, through 4 yellow cards suspension. The task of controlling the midfield was left in the hands of Goodman Mosele, but the Bafana international was dominated by a double-6 of Yusuf Maart and Njabulo Blom.
There is no doubt in every football fan’s mind that Chiefs won the midfield battle, and were tactically superior than their arch-rival on the day. The decision to bench Kgaugelo Sekgota could have surprised Pirates, and they were not expecting Ashley Du Preez to come at them guns blazing, on the left hand side.
Du Preez had a first half he’d wish to forget, after missing two quick 1v1 against the keeper, Siyabonga Mpontshane, after he couldn’t pick a spot for a finish. The two chances were the best chances in the first half. Zwane had one thing in mind, to protect a clean sheet, as Amakhosi had scored 15 and conceded the same amount prior to the derby. Maart and Blom made sense in midfield, and the Du Preez, Billiat and Dolly attacking force also meant Chiefs were nothing short of firepower upfront.
Pirates made changes in the second half, first it was a double change of Makaringe and Dlamini, for Lepasa and Hotto, then later Motshwari for Goodman Mosele but it yielded no positive result. Chiefs on the other hand, raised their hands four minutes later, and were rewarded by a brilliant long shot by Maart from well inside his own half.
Interestingly, Pirates are still without a goal in the second half in all their Dstv Premiership matches, and this makes it hard for them to break teams when they’re trailing, or in desperate need to kill off games. Both Saleng and Erasmus were closely monitored by the Chiefs defence, and the duo couldn’t find a way through, as they did in the semifinal of the MTN 8.
Pirates were dealt a huge blow when defender and captain Innocent Maela suffered an early injury, which forced Pirates coach Jose Riviero to make an early substitution.
Pirates keeper SIyabonga Mpotshane was caught off his line in the 73rd minute, thanks to quick thinking from Yusuf Maart. Both teams, after a goal was scored, were huffing and puffing, hoping to catch each other on a break, but Chiefs hung on until the end. This victory took pressure off coach Arthur Zwane, as some sections of the fans were calling for his head after the cup exit.
Referee Victor Gomes would be proud of his performance as he officiated his final derby before retiring in January of 2023.
This derby win moved Chiefs to third on the log, 7 points behind the champions Sundowns.