Chippa strike late to hold Sundowns

Chippa United struck a late equaliser to hold champions Mamelodi Sundowns 1-1 in an Absa Premiership clash on Wednesday night.

The Brazilians held a 1-0 lead at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium for the better part of an hour following a first-half strike from Lebohang Maboe, but Meshack Maphangule hit back at the death to salvage a share of the spoils for the Chilli Boys.

Sundowns started slowly and it was Chippa who made most of the early play, with their best effort a deflected cross-shot from Thabo Rakhale which tested Dennis Onyango within the opening quarter hour.

The Brazilians gradually began to find their rhythm and a slick passing exchange opened up space for Sibusiso Vilakazi to shoot from just outside the penalty area, but his right-footed effort flashed just the wrong side of Patrick Tignyemb’s right-hand post.

With momentum now on their side, ‘Downs began to build pressure and were finally rewarded in the 35th minute when the ball broke for Lebohang Maboe on the right of the penalty area and he sent a low shot into the bottom corner of the net to put the visitors 1-0 up.

Leading by a single goal at the break, Sundowns still opted for a change at the start of the second half by introducing Keletso Makgalwa in place of Gaston Sirino, giving a different dimension to their attack.

The Brazilians almost claimed a second goal six minutes after the restart, with Themba Zwane glancing a header on target from a corner kick, but Tignyemb made a sharp save and Chippa cleared the danger before Hlompho Kekana could capitalise on the loose ball.

On 57 minutes Chippa were denied an equaliser by a brilliant save from Onyango, who reacted superbly to turn away a powerful header at close range from Rhulani Manzini, while shortly thereafter Vilakazi spurned a glorious chance at the other end.

Sundowns looked to be on course for victory, but in the final minutes of regulation time they failed to clear from a corner kick and Meshack Maphangule scored on the follow-up, with his shot deflected beyond Onyango by defender Motjeka Madisha.

‘Downs will be in MTN8 action this weekend when they host Bloemfontein Celtic on Saturday night, while Chippa will only return to competitive action on August 24 when they face Golden Arrows away from home.

Chippa United (0) 1 (Maphangule 90’)

Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 1 (Maboe 35’)

Chippa United: Tignyemb, Damons, Nsabiyumva, K. Moyo, E. Moyo, Komane, Maphangule, Rakhale (L. Manzini 68’), Mbenyane (Mahola 79’), Lentjies, R. Manzini (Malepe 58’)

Mamelodi Sundowns: Onyango, Morena, Madisha, Lebusa, Langerman, Seabi (Mabunda 73’), Kekana, Zwane, Sirino (Makgalwa 46’), Vilakazi, Maboe (Mahlambi 84’)