Maluleka the hero for Amakhosi
Ernst Middendorp earned a win in his first match in charge of Kaizer Chiefs as they saw off SuperSport United 1-0 at the Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday.
George Maluleka scored the only goal of the game on 64 minutes although there were numerous chances missed by both sides in an entertaining end-to-end affair.
There was an early opportunity for Khama Billiat as he was played through on goal but Morgan Gould's last-ditch tackle stopped the player in his tracks. Billiat then fired the resultant set-piece over Ronwen Williams in the SuperSport goal.
Teboho Mokoena was just over with a fierce effort at the other end as the ball dropped to him on the edge of the Chiefs area.
Castro really should have at least hit the target in the 12th minute when fed by Billiat inside the box, but he fired his first-time effort well over.
Chiefs continued to attack, with Maluleka the next player to tee up a shot but ultimately skew his effort wide, while Fagrie Lakay fired in from range but just past the right-hand upright as Matsatsantsa looked to get going in attack.
Williams did superbly well to deny Lebogang Manyama, who had stolen in behind the away defence, and volley goalward after latching onto Billiat's dinked ball. The keeper then got a strong hand to a low cross from Godfrey Walusimbi after he had broken forward.
Lakay saw his side-footed shot from inside the 18-yard area blocked by Daniel Cardoso amidst some super passing football from SuperSport - where Evans Rusike was nearly the recipient of an impressive attack with a shot he saw saved by Virgil Vries.
A big tackle from Grant Kekana followed by Williams save, stopped Billiat again, this time as he powered on goal with the first half winding to a close.
Both sides made a change at the break, with Thuso Phala on for Lakay, who was taken to hospital with a concussion he had sustained, while Kabelo Mahlasela came on for Siphelele Ntshangase for Chiefs.
The home side remained on the front foot and Billiat was first in a with a chance early in the second period that didn't test Williams.
Chiefs though were certainly pilling on the pressure in the first ten minutes but Billiat was wayward with yet another chance with 57 played.
James Keene came on for Sipho Mbule for SuperSport as Bernard Parker replaced Leonardo Castro on the hour mark for the Amakhosi.
And while Manyama was inches away from breaking the deadlock with a super strike on 63 minutes, it was Maluleka to take the plaudits a minute later with a smart finish curling away from Williams into the bottom left hand corner, having been fed with a pass from substitute Mahlasela.
Billiat should have added a second on more that one occasion but often took too long to shoot, allowing Williams and his defence to settlem, amidst a flurry of chances at both ends.
A final away change saw Lungu Ghampani on for Mokoena while Philani Zulu enjoyed the final few minutes in place of Dumisani Zuma ahead of the final whistle and pure elation for Middendorp, Maluleka and Co.