Mark Mayambela returned from injury to inspire Chippa United to a 1-0 home win over Kaizer Chiefs yesterday that took them into a four-way tie at the top of the Premier Soccer League standings.
Mayambela broke a bone in his foot two months ago, but was back to display an array of his tricks, setting up the only goal of the game for Abel Mabaso.
Chippa moved up to 19 points, second on goal difference ahead of Mamelodi Sundowns and just ahead of Baroka FC and Orlando Pirates.
It was a performance that showed both the attacking and defensive qualities of Chippa, who overpowered their visitors and gained revenge for their controversial loss to Chiefs in the Telkom Knockout.
The goal came after only five minutes: Mayambela tricked his way past Chiefs’ new Zimbabwean centre back Teenage Hadebe before hitting a square pass with the outside of his boot that curled away from Itumeleng Khune and was easily tapped in by Abel Mabaso.
It was the perfect start for Chippa, looking to extend a nine match unbeaten run and join the other three clubs at the top of the league standings.
Chiefs tried immediately to get back into the game but could not get their passing game together.
Moeketsi Sekola’s flying header from Kurt Lentjies’ pass in the 25th minute looked for all money a second goal for Chippa before Khune got an outstretched arm to the ball and kept it out.
Chiefs then saw Pule Ekstein, back in the team in place of Gustavo Paez, hit the upright with an effort from a tight angle that Chippa goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi looked to have covered.
But as much as Chiefs tried to find an equaliser, so Chippa came back at them, and Sizwe Mdlinzo was disappointing, with a wild effort over the top of the target being set up by Paseka Mako, who should have had a goal on the stroke of half-time when he beat Khune from close range, but was erroneously flagged for offside by linesman Clifford Motaung.
“We could have wrapped up the game in the first half and Chiefs came back strongly, but we’ll take it,” said Chippa coach, Tebeho Moloi.
In the second half Chiefs saw plenty of possession, but poor final touches let them consistently down and, in fact, the best chance of the half fell to Chippa sub Katlego Mashego, whose effort was cleared off the line by Hadebe.
l FREE State Stars defeated Golden Arrows 2-1 in last night’s early Absa Premiership match at the Goble Park Stadium in Bethlehem.
l IF you thought Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter was going to be hauled over the coals after his team’s failure to qualify for 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia then think again.
Safa technical director Neil Tovey said yesterday Baxter’s future was never under scrutiny when they met him this week to review Bafana’s disastrous World Cup qualifying campaign.
Tovey said it was never the Briton’s mandate to get the team to Russia.
“That wasn’t his mandate [to take Bafana to Russia] … he’s only been in this job for seven months‚” said Tovey. —
Supersport.com with additional reporting by Sazi Hadebe
l Bidvest Wits 0, Ajax Cape Town 0 at Bidvest Stadium;
l Free State Stars 2, Golden Arrows 1 at Goble Park;
l Polokwane City 0, Platinum Stars 1 at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium;
l AmaZulu FC vs Bloemfontein Celtic at King Zwelithini Stadium (7:30pm) — match postponed.