Marumo Gallants claimed a thrilling 3-2 win over Chippa United in a DStv Premiership clash played at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
A topsy-turvy game in Mdantsane featured braces from Bienvenu Eva Nga and Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo for the Chilli Boys and Bahlabane ba Ntwa respectively, but the key action came from the visitors’ Joseph Molangoane late on to see his team break a four-game winless streak in the league and move seven points clear of the relegation zone.
The Eastern Cape hosts, meanwhile, are still searching for a first home win of the season and are just two points above the danger zone. In fact, if results elsewhere go against them, they could be bottom of the log by the end of Saturday evening.
Chippa enjoyed early dominance in terms of possession and half-chances, but it was Marumo who soon settled into a good rhythm and nearly claimed the lead midway through the first half.
A free kick delivery from Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo picked out the head of Mpho Mvelse, who saw his effort flash beyond Chippa goalkeeper Loydt Kazapua but rebound off the upright.
Ndlondlo himself then put Gallants ahead on the 30-minute mark. The attacker picked up a fine pass from deep in his own half by Miguel Timm, turned and sprinted in on goal, before providing a classy and composed finish past the ‘keeper.
The visiting team looked to be in full control of the game at this point, but Chippa struck back on 37 minutes with a rapier-like counter attack which was started by a brilliant throw from Kazapua and finished off with aplomb by Bienvenu Eva Nga – with good touches from Siphelele Luthuli and Peter Maloisane in between – to make it 1-1.
The teams remained on level terms up to the break, and the second half opened with the Chilli Boys making a double change with the introductions of Maloisane Mokhele and Tebogo Makobela.
The former substitute played a key role in creating a second goal for the hosts on 54 minutes, playing a fine pass to put Luthuli into space down the right – he in turn picked out Eva Nga with a cross, and the striker put Chippa 2-1 up with a glancing header into the back of the net.
Bahlabane ba Ntwa almost came up with an equaliser midway through the second half, as Katlego Otladisa picked up a clever pass from Ndlondlo before turning and shooting from the edge of the box, but his effort clipped the outside of the post.
Marumo continued to probe at the hosts’ defence and they were rewarded with a somewhat fortuitous penalty with just under 10 minutes of regulation time to play, as a ball which deflected off Roscoe Pietersen at close range struck the arm of Sandile Mthethwa.
Ndlondlo completed his brace with a confident finish from the spot to make it 2-2 in the 83rd minute.
Momentum was on the visiting team’s side and they duly went on to claim a winning goal in the final minute of regulation time, as Sede Dion sprinted away down the right flank on a counter attack and provided a cross which was turned home at the far post by Joseph Molangoane to seal a thrilling 3-2 victory.
Gallants will return to DStv Premiership action on Wednesday, 2 March with a match at home to Baroka FC, while Chippa’s next league fixture is on Sunday, 6 March when they face Golden Arrows in Durban.
Chippa United (1) 2 (Eva Nga 37’ 54’)
Marumo Gallants (1) 3 (Ndlondlo 30’ 83’ pen, Molangoane 90’)