Sundowns pegged back by Chippa sucker-punch

Kurt Lentjies of Chippa United during the Absa Premiership 2019/20 football match between Chippa United and Mamelodi Sundowns at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on 14 August 2019 © Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

Kurt Lentjies of Chippa United during the Absa Premiership 2019/20 football match between Chippa United and Mamelodi Sundowns at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on 14 August 2019 © Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

A late strike from Meshack Maphangule earned Chippa United a precious point at home to Mamelodi Sundowns at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Lebo Maboe’s first half strike appeared to have won the game for Sundowns but as the clock ticked towards stoppage time at the end of the match, Maphangule struck after a bit of a goalmouth scramble, with Motjeka Madisha only able to help his goal-bound effort into the net.

The result means that Pitso Mosimane’s men have four points from their first two games while Clinton Larsen’s side are also unbeaten, havign drawn their opening two games.

Rivaldo Coetzee was out injured for Sundowns which meant new signing Sammy Seabi got his debut for Masandawana in the middle of the park alongside Hlompho Kekana.

As for Chippa, Gregory Damons made his top flight debut in midfield, and Rhulani Manzini was selected ahead of his namesake Lerato Manzini.

Chippa had an early chance as Thabo Rakhale caused  Tebogo Langerman problems down the right, and saw his cross deflected into the grateful arms of Denis Onyango.

Sundowns, however, slowly worked their way into the game, Themba Zwane just missing the target with a cracking effort from 30 metres out.

Maboe then robbed Andie Mbenyane, and went on a mazy run, that almost took him clear on goal, but in the end Chippa got enough defenders back to squeeze him out.

That wasn’t the case in the 35th minute, however, as some lovely interplay saw Maboe found in acres of space inside the area, and he drilled a low finish past Patrick Tignyemb.

Sibusiso Vilakazi might have doubled Sundowns’ lead before half time, but his curling effort flew just the wrong side of the post.

Sundowns came even closer five minutes after the break, Zwane getting his head to a corner, but Tignyemb somehow made a save and Hlompho Kekana couldn’t force the ball over the line.

In the 57th minute, Onyango had to show his class, plunging to his left to brilliantly keep out a header from Chippa striker Rhulani Manzini.

That was Manzini’s last contribution as he was replaced not long after by new Chippa signing Tercious Malepe.

Vilakazi then wasted a glorious opportunity to score as he displayed perfect control inside the penalty area, but with only Tignyemb to beat, put his close-range effort over the bar.

And Sundowns were left to rue that miss in particular as Chippa struck late to grab a point.

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