Chiefs came from a goal down to force a 1-1 draw against Abafana Bes’thende in a match which they needed to win to cement their place in the top eight
Amakhosi came into this encounter having dominated this fixture since 2004 with 17 wins under their belt while Arrows visited the Calabash with only five wins over their Soweto opponents in the last 29 matches.
The game also signalled Steve Komphela’s first return to the FNB Stadium since joining Abafana Bes’thende in December last year.
Komphela’s men would consider themselves very fortunate to have walked away with a point after Amakhosi hit the post three times before scoring the equalizer late in the second half.
After a frantic start which saw Arrows take the game to Chiefs, it was the hosts who hit the framework through Philani Zulu.
The left-footed player fired from outside the box, but the crossbar came to Maximilliano Mbaeva’s rescue.
Nonetheless. it was Arrows who took the lead through Sibiya following a defensive mistake from Moleko in the 24th minute.
The Chiefs man failed to clear his lines, allowing Arrows the young attacker to fire past Daniel Akpeyi from the edge of the box. 1-0 to Arrows.
Arrows then dominated proceedings for the better part of the first half, showing no respect to Chiefs, who really panicked after conceding that goal.
Middendorp adopted a diamond shape in midfield as he tried to confuse Arrows, but Komphela responded by overloading the midfield, and consequently making it almost impossible for Chiefs to play their normal game.
What was of great concern for the Amakhosi technical team was conceding for their four successive league match.
Perhaps, the chopping and changing of the back four, including the goalkeeper have played a huge role in their winless run which has now stretched to four in the league.
The start of the second half was rather cagey, but Chiefs really struggled to get behind the Arrows defence.
It is for this reason Middendorp changed things around midway through the second period, pulling out Hendrick Ekstein before introducing George Maluleka and Joseph Molangoane.
The story of Molangoane is inspiring because he had not been expected to kick a ball this season. This was his first return in 258 days; he broke his leg against Free State Stars at the start of the campaign.
With Khama Billiat given some time off after being involved in an accident last weekend and Leonardo Castro not included in the matchday squad, the responsibility was with Ryan Moon, Dumisani Zuma to score goals.
Molangoane’s introduction lifted the spirits of Chiefs players, and they began to play with so much determination in the final third.
Daniel Cardoso hit the crossbar before Moleko’s header came off the woodwork as Chiefs piled the pressure on the visitors with over 20 minutes to go.
Article continues below
Moleko finally got his name on the scoresheet as he headed past Mbaeva, much to the delight of Amakhosi fans out in the stands.
There was also a sense of relief on Middendorp’s face after that equalizer, because he knew the importance of getting at least a point in their attempt to qualify for next season’s MTN8.
In the end, neither side couldn’t find the winner and the spoils had to be shared between Chiefs and Arrows.