Chippa United claimed a surprise 1-0 away win over Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium on Wednesday afternoon, with the result providing a major boost to the Eastern Cape club’s survival hopes in the DStv Premiership.
The three points – secured by a late strike from Bienvenu Eva Nga – did not raise the Chilli Boys out of 15th place (the relegation playoff zone), as Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila won their concurrent game against Bloemfontein Celtic, but does nonetheless bring them closer to the likes of Maritzburg United and Stellenbosch FC a little further up the log.
As for the Amakhosi, a failure to build momentum after their impressive win over log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns this past weekend sees them remain in eighth place after suffering an eighth defeat of the season.
Chiefs dominated possession and territory from early on, forcing Chippa onto the back foot as they patiently probed for openings in the visiting team’s defence.
A glaring one was exposed just before the midway point of the first half, as Eric Mathoho had a free header from a corner kick, but the beanpole defender failed to hit the target.
On 28 minutes Mathoho made a vital contribution at the other end of the field when he made a block on Augustine Kwem’s left-footed shot – stymieing Chippa’s first truly threatening attack.
The Eastern Cape side grew in confidence and were the more dominant force in the latter minutes before the half-time interval, but failed to provide quality service to the likes of Kwem and Kurt Lentjies, leaving the game locked at 0-0.
The second half meandered without any major chances at either end, resulting in Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt gambling with a bold triple substitution on the hour mark, as he introduced Lazarous Kambole, Reeve Frosler and Samir Nurkovic off the bench.
The fresh players took time to have an influence on the game, but Nurkovic finally had an effort on target in the 82nd minute, with his long-range strike forcing a decent save from Chilli Boys goalkeeper Ismail Watenga.
Yet it was a Chippa substitute who had the major say on 85 minutes, with Bienvenu Eva Nga putting Mathoho under pressure and forcing a poor back-header from the defender, before lobbing the ball beyond an onrushing Itumeleng Khune to score with the visiting team’s first effort on target.
The striker received a foot to the chest from Khune in the process of scoring the goal and was immediately stretchered off with what appeared to be a serious injury.
However, his impact was a decisive one, with Chippa able to hold out in what little remained of the game to claim three precious points.
The teams will return to DStv Premiership action on Saturday 1 May, with Chiefs away to Bloemfontein Celtic and Chippa hosting Stellenbosch FC.
Kaizer Chiefs 0
Chippa United (0) 1 (Eva Nga 85’)
Chiefs: Khune, Ngezana, Cardoso, Mathoho, Zulu, Parker, Blom, Ngcobo (Baccus 84’), Manyama (Kambole 61’), Zuma (Frosler 61’), Castro (Nurkovic 60’)
Chippa: Watenga, Mobbie, Mthethwa, Nsabiyumva, Hanamub, Lebitso (Booi 81’), Sibeko, Mdlinzo, M. Maloisane (Eva Nga 64’ [Nhlapo 87’]), Lentjies, Kwem.© Backpage TXT