Hat-trick hero lifts Chilli Boys

[caption id="attachment_204642" align="aligncenter" width="630"] Rhulani Manzini of Chippa United scores during the Absa Premiership match against SuperSport United at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium yesterday in Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Picture: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images[/caption]

Chippa take massive step to retain PSL status

Chippa United took a huge step to retaining their Premier Soccer League status thanks to a stunning second-half hat-trick by Rhulani Manzini against SuperSport United last night.

The home team secured a well-deserved 3-0 victory at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium to lift them from 15th to 13th place on the table.

The crucial three points took Chippa’s tally to 27, level with Free State Stars, but with a superior goal difference.

A goalless draw between Highlands Park and Baroka FC, with 26 and 25 points respectively, see them locked in the relegation spots.

Only a single round of matches in the league remain. Chippa’s final fixture will be against Free State Stars at Goble Park on Saturday.

Coach Dan Malesela’s return to Chippa seems to have made an impression on the players as they played with their hearts on their sleeves.

Last night’s victory was only the team’s second win this year after having gone 12 matches without success.

It was the visitors who took the game to the hosts early on when Mandla Masango brought Chippa goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi into action.

The strike was a wake-up call for the home team.

Chippa had a number of scoring opportunities but it looked as if their players were scared to take responsibility in front of goal, passing the ball to someone else.

Zephania Mbokoma found the back of the net for Chippa in the 39th minute but the goal was ruled out by referee Phelelani Mdaba.

Chippa came alight in the second half.

The first goal came in the 69th minute after Masuku was fouled inside the box by Keegan Ritshie, who later was handed his second yellow card by the referee.

Striker Manzini converted the penalty.

He doubled the scoreline several minutes later before completing his hat-trick in the dying minutes of the game.

Meanwhile, bottom of the table Baroka FC are hanging on by a thread after they failed to make the most of home-ground advantage in their goalless draw against fellow relegation candidates Highlands Park last night.

Other results: Orlando Pirates 0 Ajax Cape Town 0, Platinum Stars 2 Kaizer Chiefs 0, Bloem Celtic 0 Free State Stars 0, Cape Town City 1 Golden Arrows 0.