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Kaizer Chiefs pay the penalty as Royal AM do the double over Amakhosi

Victor Letsoalo of Royal AM scores the decisive penalty against Kaizer Chiefs. Picture: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Victor Letsoalo of Royal AM scores the decisive penalty against Kaizer Chiefs. Picture: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Published Dec 19, 2021

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Cape Town - Royal AM scored a second DStv Premiership win over Kaizer Chiefs this season after their first-half penalty proved the decider in their 1-0 triumph, at the Chatsworth Stadium, on Sunday afternoon.

After Chiefs' fine form of late, speculation was rife that they would avenge their 4-1 first-round defeat at the hands of Royal AM, but it was not the case. Royal AM will move up to second place behind log-leaders Sundowns, and Chiefs will end up in the fourth position.

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Keagan Dolly was brought into Chiefs' starting line-up, and his striking partner Khama Billiat was added to the bench. Royal AM handed Mzwandile Dlamini his Premiership debut in a run-on XV after two outings as a substitute.

The fare was end-to-end straight from the opening centre, as two attack-minded teams tried to wrest the initiative. Three corners (two to Chiefs) followed in the first seven minutes, but no damage was done as defence triumphed over attack.

Chiefs took the sting out of Royal AM's enterprising start and switched their thrust down the middle with well-placed through balls, but they did not make it count in the final third, except in the 16th minute when Royal AM's defence were caught napping.

Striker Keagan Dolly was the recipient of one such through ball, and after he had managed to shake off his marker, he squared the ball for his partner Leonardo Castro to strike. However, his effort struck the upright and the Cameroon-born Hugo Nyamé, the Royal AM shot-stopper grabbed the rebound to avoid further danger.

With Chiefs not converting their scoring opportunities, Royal AM remained in the picture, and they managed to stage occasional counter-attacks around the half-hour mark. One of these provided the breakthrough. After Chiefs failed to check Royal AM's 37th-minute sortie into the goalmouth, Bernard Parker bundled Zukile Mkhize off the ball with a clumsy tackle. Referee Luxolo Badi had no hesitation in awarding Royal AM the penalty.

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Striker Victor Letsoalo stepped up to the penalty spot and sent Chiefs' Nigerian goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi the wrong way for the first-half's lone goal.

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Chiefs had a few half chances ahead of the halftime break, but Royal AM's slender 1-0 lead remained intact by the time the teams made their way back to the dressing room at the end of the half.

Two minutes into second-half play, the Dolly-Castro combination was again prominent. Dolly outstripped the Royal AM's defence out wide before supplying a waist-high goalmouth cross, which Castro failed to pick up.

Around the hour mark, there were hopes that the famous 'CBD' would come into play when substitute Khama Billiat was seen warming up, but it turned out to be a false alarm as he replaced Castro in the attack. As a result, the 'CBD' have been put on hold, but the day may not be far off when the former Mamelodi Sundowns trio will finally make their Chiefs debut as a collective.

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Substitute Billiat added a measure of spark to the Chiefs attack when he set off on a 68th-minute run down the left channel before he supplied a likely scoring cross. However, Parker and Nkosingiphile Ngcobo both swooped and ended up knocking each other off the ball in the striking zone.

In the 73rd minute, Royal AM broke Chiefs' stranglehold with an innocuous kick upfield which was relayed to Letsoalo, who found himself unmarked 30 metres out. His parting shot thudded off the crossbar as he came within a whisker of a second goal.

Towards the end, the pace of Royal AM's attack stretched Chiefs' defence to the limits but were unable to land a sought-after 'insurance' goal.

@Herman_Gibbs

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