Okwuosa rescues Chippa against Stars

Free State Stars and Chippa United played to a 1-1 draw in the early Absa Premiership match on Wednesday evening, played at the Goble Park Stadium.

The result sees both teams rise up the log, temporarily at least: Ea Lla Koto are up one spot to ninth with 12 points from 10 matches, while the Chilli Boys go up three positions to fifth with 15 points from 11 outings in the league.

Both goals arrived late in the game, with the hosts taking a lead against the run of play thanks to a strike from Edward Manqele, while the visitors quickly equalised through James Okwuosa.

Chippa enjoyed the early possession but struggled to create clear-cut chances. Their best effort at goal in the opening half hour came via a 24th-minute free kick from Kurt Lentjies which flew just over the crossbar.

Stars gradually claimed a foothold in the game and on 38 minutes they nearly claimed the lead, with winger Sinethemba Jantjie denied at close range by a superb save from Chippa goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.

Ea Lla Koto also created the first chance of the second half, with skipper Paulus Masehe getting on the end of a corner kick, only to see his effort travel over the target without troubling the ‘keeper.

Masehe had another go at goal – this time from long range – a few minutes later, but Akpeyi pulled off a good save, while shortly thereafter Chippa put Paseka Mako clean through, but he was unable to get the better of Badra Ali Sangare one-on-one.

On 64 minutes the Chilli Boys had another good opportunity when Phetso Maphanga teed up Lentjies, but he was unable to get the better of Sangare and was soon replaced by Moeketsi Sekola.

Sekola and the lively Mpho Mvelase continued to put Stars’ defence under pressure, but it was the hosts who broke the deadlock through substitute Edward Manqele in the 84th minute, with the striker coolly taking advantage of some slack defending.

Yet Ea Lla Koto’s lead was short lived, with the Chilli Boys equalising in the 86th minute: Menzi Masuku’s corner kick was headed home by defender James Okwuosa to see the match end 1-1.

Both teams will be in action again this weekend, with Stars away to Kaizer Chiefs and Chippa at home to Mamelodi Sundowns.

Free State Stars (0) 1 (Manqele 84’)
Chippa United (0) 1 (Okwuosa 86’)

Stars: Sangare, Mobbie, Keita, Mbhele, Phungwayo, Masehe, Mokhuoane, Jantjie, Maphakisa, Dlamini, Anas

Chippa: Akpeyi, Macheke, Okwuosa, Bergman, Maphanga, Mvelase, Mabaso (Zuke 61’), Mdlinzo, Mako, Lentjies (Sekola 65’), Julies (Masuku 81’)