Johannesburg — Chippa United edged closer to survival after playing to a 2-all draw with basement dwellers Baroka FC in a DStv Premiership match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gqeberha on Saturday afternoon.
In the last 15 minutes of the match, Baroka were 2-1 up following late goals from Dan Ndlhovu and Decided Chauke who cancelled out Rian Hanamub’s earlier strike, but Thokozani Sekotlong's late goal ensured that the two teams shared the spoils.
Chippa are 12th on the standings with 28 points, six ahead of Baroka. But having led and dominated for the better part of the game, the Chilli Boys will feel hard-done by the share of the points heading to the last two games of the season.
After Swallows failed to get maximum following their 2-all draw with SuperSport United on Friday night, Chippa and Baroka knew how invaluable three points would be as far as their aspirations were concerned.
But it was the Chilli Boys who were more confident, given the fact that they were unbeaten in their last three games, with that run happening under dubious circumstances of appointing Morgan Mammila as an assistant coach.
Following their 3-1 defeat to Kaizer Chiefs, general team manager Mammila was integrated as Chippa’s second assistant, to coach Kurt Lentjies, alongside Siyabulela Gwambi. A feat that created different views in the football circles.
Meanwhile, things haven’t been smooth on the side of Baroka who recently demoted coach Kgoloko Thobenjane to the reserve team for a second tenure as his assistant Vincent Kobola took over the senior team reins.
Life at the hot seat started off to a good start for the former defender as Baroka beat Golden Arrows 1-0 in his first match in charge.
With veteran goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane starting his second match against Chippa since joining the club in the past few weeks hoping to aid their survival chances, Baroka were hoping for a good outing in the Windy City.
It was the home side Chippa that started on a high note though. Siphelele Luthuli whipped in a telling cross against the run, but it sailed across the face of goal as Bienvenu Eva Nga failed to connect.
Albeit being the second-best team after the start, Baroka had the game’s first shot on target after Sekela Sithole’s dipping set-piece forced a smart save out of captain and keeper Lloyd Kazapua.
Chippa quickly annihilated Baroka fire as they started to orchestrate some good build-up play going forward. But the closest they came to a goal was after Siphesihle Mkhize’s piledriver inside the box took a deflection from Phelelani Shozi before sailing for a corner.
With the clock winding down, Chippa continued to pile the pressure on the visitors but they had nothing to show for their efforts as the two teams were still deadlocked at half-time.
However, the hosts did eventually find the lead courtesy of Hanamub who rattled the roof from close-range after being put through by Mkhize.
Baroka didn’t despair as Ndlhovu's solo effort saw them pull one back, before fellow substitute Chauke put the visitors ahead with a clinical strike after being put through by Evidence Makgopa.
Chippa’s substitute Sekotlong, though, ensured that a point remained in Gqeberha after beating Mabokgwane from close-range as Lentjies’ men leaped towards safety.