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Relief for Italian coach as Kaizer Chiefs end win drought

Johannesburg (AFP) – Kaizer Chiefs ended their worst start to a South African Premiership season by thrashing 10-man Cape Town City 4-1 Saturday and climbing eight places to fifth. 

The famed Soweto club, winners of 53 domestic trophies since being formed 48 years ago, drew four of their opening five league matches and lost the other.

Supporters, furious after the last three seasons yielded no titles, were starting to call for the head of Italian coach Giovanni Solinas just a few months after he was hired.

But Solinas could afford a shy smile at Cape Town Stadium after watching his team rip City apart after the hosts had a player sent off when trailing 2-1.

Zimbabwean Khama Billiat scored twice and Siyabonga Ngezana and Philani Zulu once each for Chiefs, whose last of four Premiership titles came in the 2014/2015 season.

Another Zimbabwean, Matthew Rusike, netted for Cape Town, who had defender Taariq Fielies red-carded on 67 minutes after two bookings, one for a reckless tackle.

“We could have scored even more goals,” said Solinas, a soft-spoken 50-year-old who has spent most of his coaching career in Algeria and never won a major trophy. 

“It was wonderful to see such a large crowd turn up to support us and they played a significant role in our first league victory of the season.

“We deserved to win and every player contributed, including Bernard Parker after he came on as an early substitute for the injured Leonardo Castro.”   

Cape Town coach Benni McCarthy, a 2004 UEFA Champions League final winner with Porto, was angered by what he considered to be bias refereeing.

“When we fouled, there were cards flashed. When Chiefs fouled, they were not even spoken to,” he complained.

Johannesburg-based Wits, champions two seasons ago for the first time since being formed in 1921, stretched their lead by to three points after a 0-0 draw at lowly Maritzburg United. 

Orlando Pirates share second place with Bloemfontein Celtic after a strong finish delivered a 3-1 home victory over SuperSport United in Soweto. 

Vincent Pule gave the Buccaneers a half-time lead that was cancelled midway through the second half when Bongani Khumalo tapped in at the far post.

A Pirates side hampered by poor finishing this season regained the lead with a goal from substitute Thembinkosi Lorch and Ben Motshwari netted to put the result beyond doubt.

Chippa United moved off the bottom thanks to a dramatic 1-0 home win over Baroka in Mdantsane with Andile Mbenyane grabbing the only goal four minutes from time.   

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