Royal AM completed a DStv Premiership double over Kaizer Chiefs on Sunday, a Victor Letsoalo penalty enough to edge out Amakhosi at Chatsworth Stadium and send the home side above Chiefs and up to second in the table.
ALSO READ: Pirates gunning for redemption against Gallants, says Motshwari
The KZN top flight newbies had produced arguably the result of the season so far when they hammered Amakhosi 4-1 at FNB Stadium earlier in the campaign. Chiefs avoided an embarrassing scoreline on Sunday, but ultimately a needless penalty, given away by veteran captain Bernard Parker, was enough to give Royal AM the three points.
For Chiefs, the result represented a dent in their resurgence under Stuart Baxter, and almost every week Mamelodi Sundowns look more and more like guaranteed champions again.
Baxter was not on the touchline again, as he completes his recovery from Covid-19, but the Chiefs head coach was happy enough with what he saw in absentia against Sekhukhune United to make just one change at Chatsworth Stadium.
Keagan Dolly, who had missed the Sekhkhune game as one of Chiefs’ players not yet back from their coronavirus breakout, returned for this one, in place of Happy Mashiane.
And the Bafana Bafana left-footed attacking midfielder was Chiefs’ main attacking outlet in the early stages, linking up well with one of the heroes from the Sekhukhune game, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo.
In the 16th minute, Dolly burst clear onto Ngcobo’s pass, but Royal AM captain Samuel Manganyi got back to make a vital tackle. Still, the ball fell back at Dolly’s feet, and his cross was turned goalwards by Leonardo Castro, but
Patrick Nyame stuck out a foot, and diverted the ball onto the post. Reeve Frosler then came forward in space down the right, and was found by a searching pass, but his effort, while it beat Nyame, drifted wide of the goal.
Royal AM were mainly on the back foot, but were battling hard, and Tebogo Potsane might have created himself a good chance in the 11th minute, but his touch was poor and the chance vanished.
Still, it was Royal AM who went in front in the 36th minute, courtesy of a gift from Parker, who needlessly clattered into Zukhile Mkhize inside the penalty area. Luxolo Badi pointed to the spot, and Letsoalo sent Daniel Akpeyi the wrong way.
Parker tried to make amends at the other end a minute before the break, but could only head wide.
In the 52nd minute, the Ngcobo-Dolly axis nearly combined again, but this time Dolly couldn’t get an effective touch on the pass, and the ball trickled past the post.
Chiefs brought on Khama Billiat for Castro, denying a chance for the ‘CBD’ to be reunited for the first time in Amakhosi colours.
Billiat did add some spark to Amakhosi’s attack, and on one counter attack, he surged down the left and got in a cross, but some brave defending from Baroka prevented Parker from equalising.
Royal AM came ever-so-close to adding another in the 72nd minute, as Letsoalo’s rocket from the edge of the box cannoned back off the woodwork.
Lebo Manyama also came on for Chiefs, but despite exerting plenty of territorial pressure, Chiefs just couldn’t find a way past Baroka’s resilient rearguard.