Kaizer Chiefs and former Warriors winger, Khama Billiat scored a brace on Sunday afternoon as Kaizer Chiefs dismantled Morroco Swalllows 3-1.
Amakhosi were rocked by injuries, suspensions and a COVID outbreak in the camp ahead of the game.
It led to no less than six changes from the Amakhosi side that beat Maritzburg United in their last league game, but coach Stuart Baxter was adamant pre-match that there would be no excuses from Chiefs coming into the Swallows game.
And indeed a clinical, professional performance from Amakhosi saw them comfortably win this Soweto derby for their fifth win in the last six league games as their purple patch continues.
Swallows had the better of the possession in the first half, but they had little to show for it, as they were comfortably kept at bay by Chiefs’ defence.
Instead, it was Amakhosi whose patience out of possession paid off, and who were the more clinical in taking the chances that presented themselves in the first half.
Chiefs were missing key midfield holding players, Njabulo Ngcobo and Phatutshedzo Nange, but they still had plenty of attacking creative firepower at their disposal.
In the 12th minute, Keagan Dolly’s incisive ball from the right found skipper Bernard Parker, who showed good close control to make room for a shot on goal from inside the six-yard area, with Swallows keeper Jody February standing tall to deny the Chiefs skipper.
Chiefs’ held their shape well in the first half and had the better of the chances, stepping up a gear late in the half with a double whammy that knocked the stuffing out of the Birds.
In the 43rd minute some good pressing from Anthony Akumu saw the Kenyan midfielder intercept the ball as Swallows’ defence casually tried to play the ball out from the back, with the ball falling to Billiat, whose clever ball to the right found Dolly, who made no mistake with a smart finish past February to give Chiefs the lead.
Just three minutes later more sloppy Swallows defending saw Ramahlwe Mphahlele intercept a Swallows move from the back, with the right back combining well with Dolly, before swinging a ball into the danger area for Billiat, who beat Birds defender Givemore Khupe to the ball and had the ball in the back of February’s net in a flash to double Chiefs’ lead on the stroke of half time.
Chiefs went into the break two goals to the good, and it was a lead they never looked like relinquishing.
In the 53rd minute a rare Swallows shot on goal from Thabo Matlaba in fact led to Chiefs getting their third goal of the game.
After Daniel Akpeyi gathered Matlaba’s long range shot, the Super Eagles shot stopper hoofed a long ball forward, with Billiat winning the initial header and guiding it to Parker, who played it back to Billiat.
The Zimbabwean international had plenty to do when receiving the ball on the edge of the box, but with a breathtaking piece of skill he ghosted past one, two, three Swallows defenders and left them for dead, before flashing a left-footed shot past February at his near post to score his second of the game with a sublime bit of individual brilliance.
Billiat celebrated with his trademark Cristiano Ronaldo celebration as his goal gave Chiefs a commanding and unassailable 3-0 lead.
Swallows did pull one back in the 63rd minute, as Grant Magerman swung in a cross from the left, which was cleverly flicked on first time in the box by Swallows skipper Lebohang Mokoena with the outside of his foot, his slick finishing finding the net off the inside of Akpeyi’s far post to give Swallows a glimmer of hope.
In the 69th minute Mphahlele was alert to head a dangerous Mokoena cross clear, ahead of the onrushing Swallows strikers as the Birds stage a flurry in an attempt to get back into the game.
But it was too little too late, as Chiefs defenders Erick Mathoho, Daniel Cardoso and Austin Dube held firm to comfortably see out an important, gutsy win for Amakhosi.