Visitors’ counter-attack strategy pays dividends as they win 3-2
Chippa United failed to break their winless run in the Premier Soccer League when they lost 3-2 to Maritzburg United in a heated affair at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium last night.
The Port Elizabeth soccer side have now gone nine matches without a win in the league and are moving closer to the relegation zone, a prospect that must give coach Dan Malesela sleepless nights.
It was a welcome win for the visitors in their bid to cement their stay in the top eight.
Maritzburg came to the NMB Stadium with a clear game plan – to lay back and catch the Chilli Boys on the counter attack.
Maritzburg took the lead only four minutes into the game, when Mohau Mokate’s header found the back of Chippa’s net.
Five minutes later, Mokate had an opportunity to double the score but his strike hit the side net.
Chippa had a hard time breaking through the Maritzburg defence line.
The only clear chance at goals Malesela’s troops had was with Tshwarelo Bereng’s long strike from just outside the box, which went wide.
Maritzburg went into the break with a 1-0 lead over Chippa.
In the second half, the visitors continued with their strategy to catch the Chilli Boys on the counter.
The visitors received a penalty in the 63rd minute after Andre Fileccia was fouled by Chippa goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi and Kurt Lentjies placed the ball comfortably into the net.
The Chilli Boys pulled one back through Phetolo Sekome but their joy was short-lived as Maritzburg once again caught Chippa on the counter and Devon Saal scored the third goal.
Rhulani Manzini’s header in the 82nd minute was not enough to at least get Chippa a point.
Meanwhile, Bidvest Wits still lack the edge that gains a team consistency and makes them league champions, as evidenced by their 1-0 Absa Premiership defeat against SuperSport United last night.
Thuso Phala’s 68th-minute goal earned Matsatsantsa their first league win in six games while Wits lost for the first time since their 2-0 defeat against Mamelodi Sundowns in February – six league matches ago.
SuperSport were the team losing momentum and whose PSL title chances had rapidly slipped in the past week while Wits were the side tipped to perhaps edge out Cape Town City and Mamelodi Sundowns for the championship.
A good midweek crowd almost filled Bidvest Stadium as Wits’ fans came to savour what seemed an inevitable victory as they continued to march towards an increasingly probable first league title.
That was the script, anyway. But someone had forgotten to forward it to SuperSport.
Stuart Baxter’s men had dropped off the pace in the title race with defeats against Baroka then backto-back against Mamelodi Sundowns.
But they have clearly not given up on their title aspirations. Helped by a Buhle Mkhwanazi defensive error, they toughed out a win against the league’s ultimate toughies.
Other results: Bloem Celtic and Highlands Park drew 1-1, Polokwane City beat Golden Arrows 3-1.– Additional reporting by Marc Strydom