PORT ELIZABETH – Chippa United held off a gutsy challenge from Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday afternoon to record a 2-0 win in a Nedbank Cup last-16 tie.
A Kurt Lentjies header five minutes into the second half and a Mark Mayambela volley in the 94th minute proved the difference in a game in which the top-flight club were on top for the most part, although there was always a feeling that the visiting team from the Limpopo Province were in with a chance of causing an upset.
Tshakhuma keeper Tshepo Ramaele was especially busy in the first half and there was some early work for him when he got down well to keep out a low free kick from Lentjies with just a minute on the clock.
The National First Division (NFD) club had a chance of their own soon after when Edward Manqele turned sharply on the penalty spot before firing goalwards, but his shot was too close to Chippa keeper Mbongeni Mzimela.
Although the visiting side were not being overwhelmed by Chippa, the hosts increasingly took control of proceedings and Ramaele was called into action again on 33 minutes to keep out a Lentjies free kick, before turning a Mayambela pile-driver around the post just before the interval in Port Elizabeth.
After the restart, Chippa winger Thabo Rakhale began to stamp his mark on the match and it was his delightful back-post cross which led to the deadlock being broken on 50 minutes as Lentjies timed his header to perfection to find the net.
Tshakhuma could have restored parity four minutes later when former Free State Stars, Kaizer Chiefs, Chippa and Mamelodi Sundowns striker Manqele found himself unmarked eight yards out, but he failed to find the target with a header.
Despite the NFD team's efforts to get back into the tie, the closing 25 minutes were a relative formality for the Chilli Boys, who had a couple of chances to add to the scoreline, including an 85th minute header from Gladwin Shitolo which struck the crossbar from only a couple of yards out.
Chippa ended the game with 10 men after Andile Mbenyane was red-carded in the 90th minute, in what appeared a somewhat harsh decision.
Soon after though the result was put beyond doubt when Mayambela caressed home a volley after a lovely assist by Ruzaigh Gamildien.
African News Agency (ANA)