Kaizer Chiefs put the proverbial icing on their 50th birthday cake with a victory that put them back in the driving seat at the summit of the Absa Premiership on Wednesday night.
Amakhosi’s 3-0 thumping of Highlands Park was more than Chiefs just extending their lead at the top to six points but the achievement was significant because it came a day after Soweto powerhouse officially kicked off their golden jubilee celebrations.
Now Chiefs are six points ahead of defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns, who played to a goalless draw against Bidvets Wits in Pretoria on Tuesday night.
Highlands were not necessarily outclassed by any measure but the Tembisa-based outfit simply paid the heavy price of conceding free kicks in the proximity of their goal area, coupled with poor defending.
The moment for Chiefs came when their striker Leonardo Castro was fouled outside the box.
For the resultant set-play, defender Mulomowandau Mathoho converted Lebo Manyama’s well-taken free kick with an acrobatic effort after his initial headed attempt came off the crossbar.
Castro should have sealed the deal late in the opening half but he squandered a chance with the goalkeeper to beat, but the Colombian made amends by squeezing in a shot in the 56th minute and, almost 15 minutes later, headed home his second from a corner taken by Manyama.
To their credit, Highlands created a few chances of their own with their talisman Peter Shalulile at the centre of their forays, particularly in the first half but they found Daniel Akpeyi alert in the Amakhosi goal.
But it proved to be game-over long before the final whistle when Castro’s brace sets the multitudes of Chiefs supporters into song and dance to mark the club’s half-centenary celebrations.
At this point any potential comeback by Highlands remained a hollow hope as coach Owen Da Gama’s had collapsed dramatically.
In the end, it was worth it for those who descended on the Calabash as lucky few supporters were served pieces of the giant cake that Chiefs founder Kaizer Motaung and some of the club’s legends cut at half-time.
Despite Chiefs having dished out free tickets, the game did not entirely attract a full house as anticipated but the turnout was nonetheless impressive considering that the match was a midweek fixture in addition to being staged at a massive arena that takes up to 80 000 at a go.
Wednesday’s Absa Premiership results
Kaizer Chiefs 3-0 Highlands Park
Black Leopards 1-2 Chippa United
SuperSport United 2-2 Maritzburg United
Golden Arrows 1-0 Broka FC
Cape Town City 2-2 AmaZulu