CAPE TOWN – It was the Khama Billiat show at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday afternoon as the Zimbabwean forward inspired Kaizer Chiefs to a 4-1 win over Cape Town City.
It was the Soweto club’s first league win of the season, while for City, the result was a bit of an embarrassment.
There must be something in the Mother City air that appeals to Billiat.
He was brilliant during his years at Ajax Cape Town and, on many occasions, he galvanised former club Mamelodi Sundowns to victory during games in the Mother City.
Saturday at the former 2010 World Cup venue in Green Point proved to be no different as Billiat dispatched the Citizens with two well-taken goals.
There was, of course, great interest in the starting line-ups, especially with both teams having brought in a high-profile addition recently: for Chiefs, Lebogang Manyama and, for City, Tokelo Rantie.
The Soweto club handed former City playmaker Manyama a debut, but Benni McCarthy erred on the side of caution by not picking Rantie.
The striker has not seen much action over the last few months, and is still not yet match-ready.
The problem for City, though, was that they sleepwalked their way through the opening 15 minutes of the match – and Chiefs took full advantage during that time. With the Capetonians meandering their way, eyes closed, through the opening stages, Amakhosi threw the kitchen sink at them.
Siphelele Ntshangase stabbed an effort wide in the second minute; Manyama found himself in space in the penalty area, but his shot lacked the power to trouble City goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh.
With Chiefs slicing through the City defence at will early on, it was no surprise when they took the lead in the 12th minute.
Manyana floated in a free kick, and the move culminated in central defender Siyabonga Ngezana heading in from close range.
Stunned, City finally started to settle down. They got their shape right, they got the organisation going, the high press kicked in and as a result, the flow and rhythm of their game arrived.
By the 25th minute, they were level at 1-1: Ayanda Patosi’s delicious corner-kick delivery was powerfully headed in at the near post by Matthew Rusike.
City had a few more opportunities after that as they continued to apply pressure to the opposition, but Craig Martin shot wide and Rusike was foiled by the Chiefs defence inside the five-yard area.
But City, clearly, had not heeded the lessons of their slow start in the first half.
They came out in the second period ensconced in armchairs – and again they paid the price as they were caught napping by Chiefs.
Five minutes into the second half, Amakhosi made it 2-1 when Billiat headed in after sustained pressure from the Johannesburg side.
To compound matters for City, central defender Taariq Fielies picked up a second yellow card and was sent for an early shower in the 66th minute.
A man down and a goal down, the Citizens were up against it, but they briefly rallied and had a fantastic chance to level through Gift Links, but the substitute winger fired his attempt straight Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.
But the unforced errors and lack of focus that often derail City were again evident when they regularly surrendered possession in the final 10 minutes.
And again it was that man Billiat who made them pay by tapping in his second goal. With City falling apart in the closing stages, substitute Philani Zulu was able to score to secure a comfortable 4-1 victory for Chiefs.