Goal-scorer Buyani Sali of Chippa United comes away with possession against Polokwane City on Saturday. Photo: Deryck Foster, BackpagePix

PORT ELIZABETH – Chippa United enhanced their status as a tough team to beat at home as they scored a 2-0 win over Polokwane City in the Nedbank Cup last-16 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.

The past week has been a baptism of fire for Polokwane’s former assistant coach Bernard Molekwa, who was promoted to the top job after the sudden departure for Bloemfontein Celtic of Belgian Luc Eymael.

Following an embarrassing 1-0 home loss to Celtic in league action in midweek, Molekwa and his charges would have fancied a positive result against Chippa, albeit in Port Elizabeth, but it was not to be.

After a goalless first half, central midfielder Buyani Sali began the creation of Molekwa’s worst nightmare as he fired the Eastern Cape side into the lead in the 61st minute.

Any fears that Chippa coach Dan Malesela may have had about going into the match without their suspended leading goal-scorer Lerato Manzini – who was sent from the field in the 4-1 reverse against title-chasing Cape Town City on Monday – definitely became a thing of the past when striker Andile Mbenyane scored the host’s second goal in the 83rd minute.

This would have brought relief to the Chippa camp, who went into the match with just a single win in their last nine outings.

The Polokwane rearguard, minus the suspended Thapelo Tshilo, never looked as solid as they have been, while at the other end, the Chippa defence kept a close eye on Polokwane danger man Jabu Maluleke, which nullified much of the visitors’ attacking chances.

Coach Molekwa will be left wondering what his team have to do to get a win, with the Limpopo side now having only been able to record a lone win and six draws in their last 10 games.

Polokwane will be hoping that it won’t be a case of déjà vu when they return to the Eastern Cape for a league encounter against the same opponents on April 11.

African News Agency (ANA)