Mkhize, Mthethwa give Chippa win at Arrows

Sandile Mthethwa struck in the dying minutes to see Chippa United claim a clutch 2-1 win over Golden Arrows in a DStv Premiership clash at the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu, Durban, on Sunday afternoon.

First-half strikes from Pule Mmodi and Siphesihle Mkhize had seen the teams on course for a draw, but the Chilli Boys were able to find a decider at the death to claim three points and move up to 13th place on the log, opening up a three-point buffer to the relegation zone.

Abafana Bes’thende, meanwhile, stayed in 10th place – four points adrift of the top eight.

Arrows got off to a flying start and claimed the lead within 60 seconds after kick-off, with Pule Mmodi intercepting the ball in the midst of Chippa’s defence, driving forward and finishing past goalkeeper Lloyd Kazapua to put the hosts 1-0 up.

The visitors responded well to going behind and built up a head of pressure in attack, though their momentum was halted somewhat when they were forced to replace the injured Patrick Mokhele with Aboubacar Sangare in just the 11th minute.

Arrows’ defence did well to hold firm in the face of Chippa’s attack, though they too suffered an early injury worry when Ntsikelelo Nxadi had to be replaced by Thabani Zuke midway through the first half.

The teams began trading scoring chances around the half-hour mark, with Knox Mutizwa shooting off target for Arrows, before Chippa’s Tebogo Makobela sent a curling effort just wide of goalkeeper Nkosingiphile Gumede’s posts.

The end-to-end nature of the game meant another goal was sure to arrive sooner rather than later, and Chippa duly claimed an equaliser on 39 minutes through Siphesihle Mkhize, who took advantage of some space behind the Arrows backline before finishing past Gumede for 1-1.

The interval arrived with the teams at level pegging on the score sheet, though Arrows nearly reclaimed the ascendancy late on through Andile Fikizolo, who was denied by a fine save by Chippa’s Namibian ‘keeper.

Fikizolo made way at the start of the second half, with Arrows boosting their attack by introducing striker Michael Gumede off the bench, while Chippa waited a few minutes before swopping out Bienvenu Eva Nga for Thokozani Sekotlong.

After a period in which neither team was able to assert themselves, Arrows gradually took control of midfield and began creating scoring chances, with Lungelo Dube shooting just over the crossbar direct from a free kick on 61 minutes.

On 68 minutes Sbonelo Cele whipped in a fine cross to find the lunge of Pule, who was unable to direct his attempt on target, before Arrows opted for a double change with the introductions of Thubelihle Magubane and Nqobeko Dlamini off the bench.

Magubane was particularly lively, troubling Chippa’s defence with his pace and movement, but the visitors did well to ensure Kazapua was well protected for the most part.

And the Chilli Boys’ defensive work was not in vain, as they claimed a second goal on 89 minutes to secure a priceless win on the road, with Sandile Mthethwa getting a toe to a corner kick to direct it beyond goalkeeper Gumede for 2-1.

Arrows threw everything but the kitchen sink at Chippa in injury time, but Kazapua made a couple of key saves to see the Eastern Cape visitors pick up all three points.

Chippa will be back in DStv Premiership action on Wednesday, 16 March, with a trip to Marumo Gallants, while Arrows will be away to Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday, 19 March, in their next league clash.

Golden Arrows (1) 1 (Mmodi 1’)
Chippa United (1) 2 (Mkhize 39’, Mthethwa 89’)

Arrows: N. Gumede, Ndlovu, Nxadi (Zuke 22’), Sibisi, Mantshiyane, Cele (Magubane 68’), L. Dube (Dlamini 68’), Sibisi, Fikizolo (M. Gumede 46’), Mmodi, Mutizwa (Ndwandwe 82’)

Chippa: Kazapua, Mkhize, Pietersen, Zulu, Hanamub, Mokhele (Sangare 11’ [Matrose 71’]), Makobela, Mthethwa, Mdlinzo, Luthuli (September 71’), Eva Nga (Sekotlong 49’).