An early Bernard Parker goal sealed a 1-0 win for Kaizer Chiefs over Mpumalanga Black Aces in the opening game of the Absa Premiership season at Mbombela Stadium.
The solitary score for the defending champions was enough to see off the challenge of the newly promoted Aces.
Chiefs yesterday created a number of chances on goal throughout the encounter, but failed to add to their lead.
AmaKhosi coach Stuart Baxter, however, will be pleased with the full three points from the first game of their title defence.
For Aces, who last claimed a win against Chiefs back in the 1995 season, they will have to continue their wait for a victory over the Soweto giants.
Chiefs took control from the start and were rewarded with the opening goal inside the first 10 minutes. From a pinpoint pass from Siphiwe Tshabalala, Parker inside the area beat a defender and his low driving ball found the corner of the net make it 1-0 to Chiefs.
Omar Henricks for Aces tried his luck from range but could not keep the effort down as it flew over the crossbar, with Itumeleng Khune in the Chiefs goal untroubled in the 10th minute.
Just before the half hour mark, Chiefs came close to adding to their advantage. Following a free kick driven into the Aces wall in the box by Tshabalala – after a short passage of play – the ball fell to the midfielder, unmarked in the box, but the Bafana player could not find the target.
In the 37th minute, Tefu Mashamaite had a headed attempt cleared off the line by Aces captain Method Mwanjale.
From the resultant corner Lehlohonolo Majoro reeled off a shot from close range at the far post, but his powerful attempt was just wide.
Aces came closest to an equaliser in the 41st minute. Khenyeza pulled the trigger from the edge of the box which was goalbound, but Khune reacted in time to direct the ball out for a corner.
Knowledge Musona made his mark on the game with a powerfully struck shot from way out in the 72nd minute, and Bafana Nhlapo in the Aces goal had to pull off a diving save to deny the Chiefs striker.
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