The eagerly anticipated MultiChoice Diski Shield got underway in four provinces this weekend. However, all eyes were on Free State at Kaizer Sebothelo Stadium, where the opening festival of this tournament took place. This is how the four teams that were in action in Botshabelo performed:
Free State Stars 2-1 Cape Town City
Stars made the home advantage count as they dominated City for the better part of the game. They made their intentions clear as early as the first half, creating chances up front and keeping shape at the back. Even the scare of losing talisman Thabo Maphakisha didn’t alter their game plan as they got the much-needed win.
Midfielder Bathusi Aubass opened Ea Lla Koto’s scoring spree early in the second half, with a glancing header inside City’s box from an Athenkosi Bauti corner-kick. Aubass would soon complete his brace. This time, he curled a close range set-piece that sailed outside the wall into Marc Andersen’s bottom corner.
Although the Citizens were chasing the game, they would get their consolation goal courtesy of Nana-Akosah Bempah. After being found unmarked, the ‘Big’ striker beat the off-side trap before slotting the ball in between Johannes Mofokeng’s legs.
Orlando Pirates 0 – 1 Bidvest Wits
After losing out on the Challenge in the penultimate round, Pirates had their eyes set on this tournament. But a late Molahlehi Khunyedi strike might have already dented the Bucs’ chances.
After receiving a pass at the edge of Pirates’ box, Khunyedi beat off his marker, took two steps towards the middle before unleashing a curler into the top corner. A lot was expected from the home side as they started with Lyle Foster up front, but the talisman who’s in search of game time in the reserves after falling down the pecking order in the first team was shooting blank on the day.
Foster’s noticeable chance was the cheeky header that came off the line, after which Wits quickly regrouped and cleared away the danger. Even captain Ricardo Lourenco, who received a special chant from the entire stadium when he made an appearance from the bench, couldn’t save the Sea Robbers’ ship from sinking.
Ajax Cape Town 1- 3 Bloemfontein Celtic
With Free State Stars already at the summit of the log with maximum points from Saturday’s openers, both teams knew what was at stake. Hence Kgotso Mofokeng’s hat-trick was enough to dethrone Stars on Sunday. Celtic started the game well, which was not much of a surprise as they had the famous stadium choir-master Botha Msila doing what he does best in the stands. Teboho Modise led the proceedings with progressive, skillful play, hence causing all sorts of problems for Ajax’s defence.
Modise was joined by Tumelo Njoti, who eventually won a set-piece just outside Ajax’s box. Goalie Darren Johnson looked to have comfortably saved the free-kick which was taken by Mofokeng before embarrassingly allowing the ball to slipslipping the ball into his own net. The Urban Warriors soon found their voices, and for that, they were rewarded.
Mogamat May was found unmarked inside Celtic’ box, took his time to pick up a spot, before placing a grass-cutter volley into the bottom corner. Mid-way through the second half, Mofokeng restored Celtic’ lead from close range, thanks to some lovely work by Modise down the left wing.
The away side’s ‘number 10’ would eventually put the game to bed after a beautiful free-kick that he blasted in between Ajax’s wall, thus leaving Johnson flat-footed.
Kaizer Chiefs 2 – 0 Platinum Stars
It was not the best Chiefs team, known for constructive football, as their coach Arthur Zwane normally insists on them to be. But their win over Platinum Stars has done just enough to put them at the summit of the log standings in the Central Region.
It took a solo run from winger Katlego Ntsabeleng to give Amakhosi the opener, as he cut between two defenders before placing the ball past an on-rushing Thato Ramafyi. Reamohetswe Lekoatsa would later double Chiefs’ lead with a lovely chip after rounding off Ramafyi.
Perhaps, one can argue that Sunday’s unpleasing performance from the juniors is because they are still recovering from the senior team’s embarrassing 3-0 home loss to Chippa United on Saturday afternoon.