Chippa, Thanda in stalemate

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Robin Rhode from Chippa United FC in action against Thanda Royal Zulu.

Chippa United and Thanda Royal Zulu drew 1-1 in a promotion play-off game at the Athlone Stadium on Saturday.

On a warm and sunny winter's afternoon, the Chippa supporters had turned out in good numbers, making the trip from their home base down the road in Philippi.

The visiting side looked the better team early on, dominating in terms of ball possession and territory.

For the most part though Thanda failed to make much of an impact in the Chippa box as the hosts remained well organised in defence.

There was an effort on goal after nine minutes for Nkosinathi Nthiyane, but he sent his shot across the face of goal.

Thanda continued to look the better team and their burly marksman Peter Nwadike had two chances in quick succession midway through the stanza; the first an easy save for Abduraghmaan White, the second effort seeing the home keeper making a good diving save.

The Cape side finally started to come to life around the half hour mark – Robin Rhode sent a flick just wide of goal as Chippa began to get some telling crosses into the box.

Seven minutes before the break and Petrus Ngebo had the hosts' best chance, but after being put through by Rhode, he lacked the desired composure.

The same could be said of Joseph Mthombeni at the other end when he sent a header well wide of goal after having found himself with time and space 10 yards out.

The game finally had the goal it needed when in the 47th minute Mthombeni threaded a ball through for Nwandike, who obliged with a cool finish from just inside the box.

But the visitors' lead was not to last too long, the Chilli Boys equalising in the 55th minute when Ngebo powered home William Twala's corner.

The match was now developing into a thriller as chances flowed at both ends.

Ngebo headed a cross from Philani Dlamini over the bar before Mthiyane fired straight at the goal keeper and then Dlamini scooped a volley over.

Ngebo was a constant thorn in the flesh of Thanda in the final minutes and should have notched the winner with two minutes of regulation time, but somehow headed wide. – Sapa


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