Chippa United avenged their Telkom Knockout elimination in the quarter-finals by defeating Kaizer Chiefs with the same 1-0 scoreline at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Chilli Boys were knocked out by Amakhosi at the same stadium a month ago to hand the club their first defeat under Teboho Moloi.
The former Orlando Pirates midfielder was incensed after that loss, especially with the only goal of the match coming from a soft penalty.
Moloi went as far as to say that getting a soft penalty is the only way Chiefs would have beaten Chippa.
He continued to say that it reminded him of how Amakhosi used to beat Pirates during his playing days.
Moloi later apologised for that statement, but there was no doubt that he was motivated to put one over the “old enemy” on Wednesday night.
Mark Mayambela played an instrumental role in Chippa and Moloi avenging that emotionally-charged defeat.
If Teenage Hadebe didn’t know Mayambela coming into this match, then the Zimbabwean ended the night knowing who the Chilli Boys’ talisman is and what he can do with his gifted left foot.
Hadebe tried to squeeze Mayambela off the line on the flank, but the skilful midfielder weaved his magic to leave the Chiefs centre back flat-footed before delivering an inch-perfect cross with the outside of his boot.
Abel Mabaso tapped that ball into the back of the net to give the hosts an early lead.
Mayambela’s moment of magic showed why Moloi put him straight into the starting XI after recovering from a fractured foot injury that kept him out of action since October.
Mayambela played a key role as Chippa pressed Amakhosi on their left wing, but he didn’t have enough energy to finish this high-paced encounter.
Mabaso’s goal came from that pressing, and Moeketsi Sekola could have made it 2-0 with a low header that was brilliantly saved by Itumeleng Khune.
The Chiefs goalkeeper has rescued Amakhosi a lot this season. His role has been heightened by the club’s misfiring ways, which has seen them score just one goal in their last four league matches.
If it wasn’t for Khune, Amakhosi would have lost some of the four matches that ended in stalemates.
This season has been characterised by draws. Teams that collect maximum points jump up quickly, with things tight at the top.
Chippa moved them from seventh to second place with this win. They are now tied on 19 points with leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, Baroka FC and Orlando Pirates.
But Chiefs gave as good as they got in an entertaining spectacle that saw these teams go toe-to-toe.
The Chilli Boys’ early lead gave them more breathing space and frustrated Amakhosi, who ended up rushing things in search of an equaliser.
Chiefs threw everything at Chippa, but Moloi’s men remained resolute.
The club’s solid defensive structure is the biggest improvement under Moloi, who has lost just one game, yet he still holds this position in the interim.
A sound defence has allowed Chippa to play with more freedom and make the most of their possession-driven football.
The combination of the two helped them stun Amakhosi and increase the pressure on Steve Komphela, who not only needs to bring silverware on his third barren season, but also has to start winning for a club that doesn’t take kindly to being second-best.