PORT ELIZABETH – Chippa United poured cold water on any plans for Kaizer Chiefs to end the season in style as the Chilli Boys downed Chiefs 1-0 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The result meant that the Amakhosi finished outside the top eight on the log, as they ended in ninth position with just 39 points.
The match was a fiery affair from the get-go as tackles flew in from both sides.
Chiefs defender Teenage Hadebe was lucky not to see red after a ninth-minute lunge into Tebogo Makobela, which appeared to leave the Chippa player with a broken leg.
Relieved to be equal on numerical terms, Khama Billiat failed with a chance to put the away side ahead as his strike hit the bar before deflecting away from danger.
With 20 minutes to play in the half, Billiat created another chance with his volley getting caught in the defensive line, before dropping to Hadebe, who failed when scoring seemed easier.
Chiefs were then forced to pay the price for trying to play their way out from the back as Phetso Maphanga intercepted a tame pass and surged forward.
Maphanga then took on his man and got a good cross away, which Rhulani Manzini latched on to in the 32nd minute to open the scoring.
Tercious Malepe nearly made it two to the hosts, but was denied shortly before the break.
Attacker Dumsani Zuma was introduced with half an hour to play as Ernst Middendorp threw men forward in search of an equaliser.
Billiat again troubled Chippa goalkeeper Mbongeni Mzimela, but the Zimbabwe international was denied as Chippa kept their noses in front.
Chippa playmaker Kurt Lentjies then missed a glorious chance to end the contest with 20 minutes to play as Chiefs were handed a small glimmer of hope.
Neither side managed to sustain pressure in the final third, with Chippa understandably happy to put numbers behind the ball in defence.
The loss ends a miserable season for Chiefs, who will not be playing in the MTN8, while the win helps Chippa United end their campaign safe in the knowledge that they will be playing in the PSL next season.
African News Agency (ANA)