Premium Journalist
2 minute read
27 May 2017
6:29 pm

Stars and Chippa share the spoils to secure top flight status


Free State Stars and Chippa United played shared the spoils in ending with a goalless draw in an Absa Premiership match, played at Goble Park in Bethlehem on Saturday afternoon.

Sinethemba Jantjie of Free State Stars and Paseka Mako of Chippa United during the Absa Premiership match between Free State Stars and Chippa United at Goble Park Stadium. (Photo by CharlŽ Lombard/Gallo Images)

With the point earned enough to ensure that both clubs will remain in the top flight league in SA football next season.

In a match of few goal-scoring opportunities, Chippa’s goalkeeper Daniel Akepyi was up to keeping out any goal-scoring chance that was put in his area by the Free State side, with right back Thabang Thapola putting in another fine showing in blocking several goal-bound raids, and is a player who can consider himself unlucky not to have found a place in the Bafana Bafana team announced by coach Stuart Baxter a few days back.

Stars best chance of finding the back of the Chippa goal-net came in the 69th minute when the experienced Paulos Masehe sending his header just over the crossbar from a corner kick taken by Sinethemba Jantjie.

Both teams conceded too many free-kicks for the match to be allowed to flow, with set piece attacks always proving to be the most likely route to a goal on the day.

Both coaches deserve a pat on the back from their chairmen, with Chippa’s Dan Malesela having been recalled to the hot-seat recently, as the Eastern Cape side spiralled to a 14-league match run without a win. Since the Orlando Pirates legend of the 1980s returned to the bench, Chippa have blossomed with their recent 3-0 win over new league champions Bidvest Wits, having all but secured their top flight status.

Stars, under the charge of Serame Letsoaka since the Christmas break, have done well to survive the axe, after the club was nearly sold pre-season, which prompted management to sell off some of their top players, only to find the club sale had fallen through.

Goalkeeper Thela Ngobeni, on-loan from Mamelodi Sundowns, has been without doubt the pillar of strength behind a brittle Stars defence that leaked 37 goals in the league campaign, while scoring just 26 at the other end of the park. His dominance in the goal mouth area against Chippa, once again played its part in the hosts earning a much needed point.