Stellenbosch hold firm on PSL debut

Stellenbosch FC claimed a valuable away point on their Absa Premiership debut as they held Chippa United 0-0 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

The newly-promoted team put in a superb rearguard action to keep at bay the Chilli Boys, with the teams settling for a point each on the opening day of the 2019/20 campaign.

Chippa started the stronger of the two teams, with forwards Kurt Lentjies and Lerato Manzini looking dangerous early on, though Stellenbosch’s defence – led by veteran Morgan Gould – stood firm.

The Cape side struggled to assert themselves in midfield, while the Chilli Boys could dictate the pace and make use of wingers William Twala and Thabo Rakhale to try and stretch the newly-promoted side.

Chippa also threatened from set pieces, with Diamond Thopola notably striking on goal direct from a free kick in the 36th minute, but goalkeeper Boy de Jong was equal to the task, while the hosts wasted another chance shortly thereafter when Lentjies shot wide of the mark.

Stellies finally looked settled toward the latter part of the first half, with midfielder Dillon Solomons particularly influential, but the interval arrived with the score still locked at 0-0.

Solomons made way for new signing Mpho Matsi at the start of the second half, while Chippa’s Lerato Manzini had a fine chance to break the deadlock on 48 minutes, but put his header off target with only de Jong to beat.

The Eastern Cape team continued to create opportunities for the likes of Lentjies, Manzini and Twala, but Stellenbosch remained resolute in defence and did a great job at closing down the space in Chippa’s attacking third of the field.

Chippa introduced attacking players off the bench in the second half – including striker Rhulani Manzini, who had a fierce shot on target turned away in the 81st minute – but they continued to be frustrated in their search for a goal.

The match eventually ended 0-0, with the hosts throwing everything they had at Stellies but unable to find a crack in a well-organised defence. Stellenbosch will be back in league action next weekend when they play away to Cape Town City in a derby, while Chippa United will wait until August 14 for a clash at home to Mamelodi Sundowns.

Chippa United 0

Stellenbosch 0

Chippa United: Tignyemb, Thopola, Nsabiyumva, K. Moyo, E. Moyo, Komane, Maphangule (Maholo 68’), Rakhale (Maziya 70’), Twala, Lentjies, L. Maznini (R. Manzini 78’)

Stellenbosch: de Jong, Mthethwa, Bergman, Gould, van Heerden, Awono, Zungu, Franco (Ndlovu 83’), Solomons (Matsi 46’), Afoakwa (Isaacs 67’), Rayners