Manzini scores two goals and new recruits play vital role in win
Chippa United got their Premier Soccer League campaign off to a dream start with a 2-1 victory over Free State Stars at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium last night.
Two goals from Rhulani Manzini ensured that the Chilli Boys claimed a full haul of points on the opening night as they embarked on their journey to better their sixth place finish of last season.
The superb start is sure to give coach Dan “Dance” Malesela’s team a major confidence boost going into the season and more especially for Saturday’s MTN8 quarterfinal against Platinum Stars.
Chippa travel to Rustenburg to play Dikwena in the first round of the competition. Ahead of the game, Manzini, who missed the last five matches of the league last season due to injury, said he was looking to reaching double figures in terms of goals this season.
The striker only scored four goals for the Port Elizabeth side last season, but had a flying start last night.
Chippa’s new recruits, man-of-thematch Marc van Heerden and Thembinkosi Lorch, played a vital role in Chippa’s win last night.
Lorch entertained the crowd with his skilful moves on the field and also assisted in both the goals scored.
Van Heerden made some wonderful defensive saves at the back and got the crowd behind him as they shouted “Mlungu” whenever he had the ball.
The Chilli Boys come out guns blazing in the first 10 minutes, giving the visitors little time to settle.
The first attempt at goal came as early as three minutes into the match when Van Heerden’s strike was blocked by the Stars defence.
Chippa continued to press hard looking for that opening goal – and it was that man Manzini who opened his account in the sixth minute.
Ea Lla Koto did not take the blow lying down as they too had a few missed opportunities at goals.
The visitors’ equaliser came in the 17th minute through Charles Kampi from a corner kick.
Manzini then put his side in the lead in the 34th minute when he found himself one-on-one with the Stars goalkeeper and easily slotted the ball in the right corner.
Meanwhile, Bidvest Wits got their Absa Premiership campaign off to a good start with goals from Elias Pelembe and Thulani Hlatshwayo leading the club to a 2-1 win over Kaizer Chiefs at the Bidvest Stadium last night.
In the other match, new Premier Soccer League franchise Cape Town City made the perfect start to life in the top-flight with a deserved 2-0 victory over Polokwane City at the Cape Town Stadium.
Goals in either half from Bongi Jayiya and Aubrey Ngoma gave Eric Tinkler’s team the victory in a game they largely dominated.