Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

Titus strike sees Stellies past goal-shy Chiefs

Chiefs have still scored just three times in 2024.

Kaizer Chiefs head coach Cavin Johnson went into Tuesday’s DStv Premiership game against Stellenbosch still talking up his side’s chances of qualifying for next season’s Caf Champions League.

But it was Steve Barker’s Stellies who showed exactly why they are in pole position to finish as runners up to Mamelodi Sundowns with a precious 1-0 away win, sealed by a sixth league goal of the season for Devin Titus.

The Western Cape side have now gone 19 games unbeaten in all competitions in a memorable campaign.

Chiefs will get nowhere near the Champions League as long as their attack continues to be so staggeringly inept. Johnson’s side have managed just three goals this year, and while they were better in the second half, still rarely stretched Stellies goalkeeper Sage Stephens.

Chiefs kept faith with the same starting line-up that had played out a goalless draw with Cape Town City on Saturday, meaning Edson Castillo was benched despite returning from suspension, while Johnson gave another opportunity in midfielder to Siyethemba Sithebe.

Stellies welcomed back midfield maestro Jayden Adams after he had only played the last half hour of their 3-0 win over Royal AM on Saturday. Right back Deano Van Rooyen also came back from injury to captain the side.

The first half was mostly dominated by both side’s defences, with Ismael Toure standing out for the visitors, the Ivorian continously getting in the right position to snuff out any Amakhosi danger.

Not that there was too much threat from Chiefs. Amakhosi’s best chances came when they pressed Stellies high up the pitch and won the ball.

In the 22nd minute, Sibongiseni Mthethwa did well to win the ball off Titus and found Pule Mmodi, who curled over the bar.

And in the 35th minute Adams made a rare mistake as he presented the ball to Mduduzi Shabalala, but the Chiefs youngster’s shot hit his teammate Ashley Du Preez and went wide.

Stellenbosch were the far more cohesive side in possession, with Andre De Jong, Iqraame Rayners, Titus and Anicet Oura all linking well at times. In the 16th minute, Titus played a fine pass for Oura, but he didn’t make a good connection with his shot and Given Msimango was able to clear.

In the 23rd minute, Rayners played in De Jong, but his clipped effort went wide of goal.

In the 39th minute Oura failed to hit the target from Fawaaz Basadien’s pass, but Stellies did go in front in first half stoppage time.

Van Rooyen’s excellent pass found Titus scampering through, and he calmly lifted his sixth league goal of the season over the onrushing Bvuma and into the net.

Johnson brought on Christian Saile for Wandile Duba at the break, and his low shot early in the second half drew the first save of the match from Stephens.

Stephens then plunged to his right to tip Shabalala’s effort away as Amakhosi raised their attacking intensity.

In the 57th minute, Toure got his head to another Chiefs set piece and Saile was first to the rebound, crashing a volley just over the bar.

The game went flat again after that, with Chiefs dominating possession, but doing very little with it, and Stellies losing their own fluency in the attacking third.

Substitute Antonio Van Vyk almost doubled Stellies’ lead in stoppage time, but Bruce Bvuma made a good save.

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