TS Galaxy claimed a 3-1 win over Chippa United in a DStv Premiership relegation ‘six-pointer’ at the Mbombela Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The result, secured by goals from Mthobisi Mngomezulu, Menzi Ndwandwe and Wayde Lekay, saw the Rockets rise three places to 12th on the log, while the Chilli Boys drop to 14th and remain just one point above the relegation playoff zone.
Chippa were the first to threaten, with a fifth-minute move down the left flank seeing Riaan Hanamub cut inside and send a low shot toward the near post, where Galaxy goalkeeper Marlon Heugh made a sharp save.
The resulting corner kick then saw the visitors claim the lead: Hanamub’s low delivery allowed Mogakolodi Ngele a shooting chance, and his effort was saved by Heugh, but the loose ball rolled kindly for Bienvenu Eva Nga, who stabbed home from close range to make it 1-0 to the Chilli Boys.
Galaxy responded well to going behind and levelled the game in the 17th minute: Marks Munyai’s cross from the right was spilt by Chippa gloves-man Ayanda Mtshali, allowing Mthobisi Mngomezulu to fire a shot into the back of the net for 1-1.
Chippa suffered an injury blow on the half-hour mark when forward Jemondre Dickens had an awkward fall and sustained what appeared to be a serious left knee injury, with coach Kurt Lentjies even moved to tears by the fate of his player. Maloisane Mokhele came on as a substitute.
Mokhele and Eva Nga had chances to put Chippa back in the lead in injury time at the end of the first half, with the former shooting wide from a tight angle and the latter heading over from a corner kick, as the interval arrived with the teams locked at 1-1.
Galaxy made a change in attack at the start of the second stanza, with Wayde Lekay replacing Mxolisi Machupu up front. He should have scored on 49 minutes when given a sitter by a great square ball from Mngomezulu, but the sub fresh-aired his attempt at a shot.
Two minutes later Ethan Brooks threatened for the hosts, with his deflected shot well saved by Mtshali.
The teams traded half-chances through most of the second half, but the defining moment arrived with just under eight minutes of regulation time remaining, as Lekay stole the ball, strode into the box and was upended by Azola Matrose, thus earning a penalty. Fellow sub Menzi Ndwandwe took the spot kick and scored past Mtshali to make it 2-1 on 84 minutes.
Chippa had a strong shout for a penalty of their own a few minutes later, as Hanamub went down under a challenge from Munyai, but there was no pointing to the spot from the referee this time.
The Rockets added a cherry on top in injury time when Lekay scored for the third match in a row, cracking home a superb left-footed shot from just outside the box to wrap up a 3-1 win which saw them open a three-point gap to the relegation zone.
The teams will return to DStv Premiership action on Saturday 11 December, with Chippa hosting AmaZulu and Galaxy visiting Orlando Pirates.
TS Galaxy (1) 3 (Mngomezulu 17’, Ndwandwe 84’ pen, Lekay 90+2’)
Chippa United (1) 1 (Eva Nga 6’)
Galaxy: Heugh, Msimango, Sanoka, Seedat, Munyai, Nduli, Aubaas, Brooks, Nyama, Mngomezulu (Ndwandwe 58’), Machupu (Lekay 46’)
Chippa: Mtshali, Mdunyelwa, Zulu, Pietersen, Hanamub, Mdlinzo, Mkhize, Ngele (Seabi 66’), Lebitso (Matrose 67’), Eva Nga (Sekotlong 79’), Dickens (Mokhele 32’)