Mpho Mvelase of Chippa United and Oupa Manyisa of Mamelodi Sundowns battle for possession at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

PORT ELIZABETH – Chippa United proved how difficult they are to beat at home as Mamelodi Sundowns were lucky to get away with a goalless draw at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.

Sundowns, fresh off a midweek 2-0 win over league champions Bidvest Wits, found themselves involved in a physical encounter, with free-scoring Percy Tau spending a lot of the time on the ground in being well marked by Chippa central defender Zithe Macheke.

Macheke’s fellow defender Mpho Mvelase could well have put the hosts ahead early on, but fluffed his effort wide of the Sundowns goal.

Mvelase has been a relevation in the Chippa rearguard since arriving from Orlando Pirates, just as Macheke looks to have taken his game to a new level after his loan spell with Thanda Royal Zulu.

Sundowns’ Zimbabwean midfield kingpin Khama Billiat also had a tough afternoon in being closely marked, and was not able to unleash his usual high-quality supply to the front men.

Daniel Akpeyi, Chippa’s classy Nigerian goalkeeper, took a few knocks in the game as Sundowns pushed for the deciding goal, and eventually had to be replaced, with former Orlando Pirates goal-minder Brighton Mhlongo taking over the gloves.

Chippa, who have now lost only one of their last nine league games (of which seven have been drawn), progressed to 16 points from 12 outings and will host Kaiser Chiefs in their next league fixture on December 6.

Sundowns, who now have 16 points from nine games, will be in league action at home against log-leaders Baroka FC on December 5.

African News Agency (ANA)