Sekhukhune narrowly lose top-flight opener

Veluyeke Zulu © Backpagepix

Sekhukhune United’s first-ever DStv Premiership match ended in defeat on Saturday afternoon, as they succumbed 1-0 to Chippa United at the Makhulong Stadium.

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Veluyeke Zulu was the unlikely hero for the Chilli Boys, who are looking to head into a brighter future under new coach Gavin Hunt, while BabinaNoko will be disappointed at suffering defeat but they produced enough in attack to suggest they should have taken something more from the game.

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The first shot in anger came from Chippa’s Sizwe Mdlinzo on seven minutes, but his effort was pulled across the face of goal and didn’t trouble Sekhukhune goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini.

That chance was a sign of things to come for the Chilli Boys, who took advantage of some slack defensive play from Sekhukhune in the 15th minute and had former Richards Bay defender Veluyeke Zulu free at a corner kick to hook home a left-footed shot and put them ahead.

At the midway point of the first half Chippa should have doubled their advantage, with Sammy Seabi putting a header wide after being beautifully picked out with a cross by Mogakolodi Ngele.

BabinaNoko had offered relatively little in attack, but had a chance to equalise on 28 minutes through veteran midfielder Willard Katsande, who latched onto a loose ball in a good shooting position but failed to direct his effort on target.

Nine minutes later the hosts threatened again, with Vusumuzi Mncube teeing up Tshediso Patjie, who saw his effort well saved by Chippa goalkeeper Ismail Watenga.. This was the last clear chance at either end in the first half, leaving Chippa 1-0 up at the break.

Sekhukhune carried their momentum into the second half and further tested Watenga through the likes of Yusuf Maart and Thabo Rakhale in the opening minutes after the restart.

The hosts introduced Charlton Mashumba and Nkanyiso Madonsela off the bench, with the latter enjoying a great chance on 66 minutes, only to be denied by another fine save from Chippa’s Ugandan shot-stopper.

It was a similar story through to the final whistle, with BabinaNoko creating a slew of chances but being unable to find a way past the outstanding Watenga, who was able to keep a clean sheet and see the Chilli Boys emerge as 1-0 winners.

The teams will return to DStv Premiership action this coming midweek, with Chippa at home to Mamelodi Sundowns on Tuesday 24 August and Sekhukhune visiting Maritzburg United on Wednesday 25 August.

Sekhukhune United 0
Chippa United (1) 1 (Zulu 15’)

SEKHUKHUNE: Kapini, De Jongh, Gyimah, Motsepe, Jampies, Rakhale (Madonsela 64’), Katsande (Leepile 78’), Maart, Patjie, Shai (Mashumba 53’), Mncube (Nxumalo 78’)

CHIPPA: Watenga, Mdunyelwa, Pieteren, Hanamub, Zulu, Lebitso, Seabi, Mdlinzo (Ramasimong 88’), M. Maloisane (Mkhize 90+2’), Ngele, Eva Nga (Lentjies 63’)