George Lebese’s strike was enough to hand Kaizer Chiefs an Absa Premiership 1-0 win against Chippa United at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday evening.
On the standings, the Soweto giants now occupy the second spot with 45 from 24 games, separated by goal difference from leaders Cape Town City.
The opening five minutes saw Steve Komphela’s men starting the contest on a high as they kept the visitors under pressure.
Siphiwe Tshabalala showed his quality on the left flank, beating his marker before putting a brilliant cross for Ramahlwe Mphahlele, whose header missed the target in the 15th minute with only goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi to beat.
In the 31st minute, George Maluleka attempted to beat Akpeyi from long range with a well struck effort, but it went inches wide of the right post.
Five minutes later, the Chilli Boys fought hard to penetrate their hosts and skipper Thamsanqa Sangweni failed to test keeper Itumeleng Khune as his effort went over the cross bar.
After great football from both sides and on the stroke of half time, Gustavo Paez also came close, receiving a cross from Edmore Chirambadare, yet the Venezuelan could not control his acrobatic shot as it went wide.
Despite the attempts to break the deadlock, it was 0-0 at half time.
10 minutes into the second stanza, Mphahlele made a good run into Chippa’s half and laid the ball for Tshabalala in the box, but the midfielder’s left-footed attempt sailed wide.
With 17 minutes to go, substitute Lebese sold his opponent a dummy and picked up Paez, but still the forward could not find his way past Akpeyi, who made a save.
Chiefs showed a sense of urgency and with five minutes to go, and Lebese converted in the box with a powerful left-footed shot following a clever pass from William Twala on the left flank.
Despite Dan Malesela’s men resilience to find an equaliser, Amakhosi controlled the proceedings as they marched on with the full three points.
The loss condemns the Port Elizabeth-based side to number 12 on the log standings with 24 points from as many matches.