Highlands Park 2-3 Kaizer Chiefs



Kaizer Chiefs got their Absa Premiership campaign off to a winning start with a 3-2 victory over Highlands Park at Makhulong Stadium on Sunday.

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New signings Lazarous Kambole, Kearyn Baccus and Samir Nurkovic were all included in the Amakhosi starting line-up. Meanwhile, former Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot winner Rodney Ramagalela lined up for his Highlands debut.

Chiefs took the lead in the fifth minute when Baccus swung the ball in to the near post for Lebogang Manyama, who glanced his header past the keeper and in to the far corner.

The Lions of the North were showing plenty of endeavour and came close in the 17th minute. Sphiwe Mahlangu played a one-two with Wayde Jooste in the box before poking an effort towards goal but it lacked power and was straight at Bruce Bvuma.

Owen da Gama's side equalised in the 23rd minute. The ball was whipped in from the right-hand side to the back post for Peter Shalulile, who squared the ball back across goal and Ramagalela reacted quickest to tap in to the net.

Chiefs won a free-kick just outside the box on the right-hand side in the 32nd minute when Reeve Frosler was brought down by Bevan Fransman. Manyama delivered the set-piece to the near post and Nurkovic directed the diving header from an acute angle in to the side netting.

The hosts went in front for the first time in the game in the 47th minute. Willard Katsande miscued his clearance straight to Lindokuhle Mbatha whose deflected effort found its way to Ramagalela, who swivelled and finished clinically past Bvuma from point-blank range.

But Highlands were not in the lead for long, as Chiefs equalised just two minutes after going behind. Bernard Parker's deflected cross was headed by Nurkovic back across goal to Manyama, who curled the ball expertly on the volley in to the far corner.

Nurkovic played a ball in behind the visitors' defence down the left-hand side for George Maluleka, who cut the ball back for Dumisani Zuma, but his first-time side-footed effort was brilliantly palmed away by a diving Heugh when it looked destined for the left-hand corner.

Chiefs scored their third in the 82nd minute to restore their lead in the fortuitous circumstances. Maluleka swung a free-kick in to the box and it was headed out to Eric Mathoho, who struck the ball first-time on the volley as it took a wicked deflection off a Highlands defender, completely wrong-footing Heugh as it sailed in to the back of the net.

The Lions of the North had a gilt-edged opportunity in the final minute of regular time which would have given Highlands a point, but Mahlangu ballooned the ball over the bar when he really should have done better as Chiefs came away with the three points.

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