Mark Mayambela fired in an injury-time equaliser to earn Chippa United a 2-2 draw in a pulsating league encounter against Polokwane City on Friday night.
All four goals came in the second half at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, after the hosts – who remain just a point above the relegation zone – came back from behind twice to earn themselves a share of the spoils.
It was in a game in which Chippa had squandered numerous other scoring chances.
It wasn’t for a lack of trying that there were no goals in a first half, in which both sides enjoyed regular chances.
The opening opportunities fell to the visiting team in the first few minutes as Mbulelo Wagaba had a curling effort saved by Daniel Akpeyi, and then Sibusiso Mbonani had a header cleared off the line.
Two attempts in quick succession followed for Chippa’s Mayambela around the 10th-minute mark, one which was cleared off the line by Ayanda Nkili, and the other drawing a sharp reflex save from Harold Ndlovu.
Thabo Rakhale also forced a stop from Ndlovu, before Andile Mbenyane squandered a wonderful chance when he fired his shot into the legs of Nkili on the line, when the rest of the goal was gaping wide open – after Ndlovu had parried another effort from Rakhale.
The action turned to the other side of the park as Rodney Ramagalela beat two defenders, only for his shot to be kept out by Akpeyi’s legs, before Rakhale went close with a low drive from 25 yards out.
It took just two second-half minutes for the deadlock to be broken as Nkili powered in a header from a Wagaba corner kick to put Rise and Shine in the lead.
Having had the better chances of the first half, the hosts would have been stung by going behind.
But Chippa showed character by hitting back with a 58th-minute equaliser when Rhulani Manzini tapped in an inviting Mbenyane cross, for what was his second goal of the week.
Reenergised, the Chilli Boys poured forward for another goal, and it nearly arrived on 62 minutes when Rakhale did outstandingly to tee up Zitha Macheke, who smashed a shot into the crossbar.
Polokwane also continued to look dangerous in attack, and after more chances for both sides, the Limpopo team reclaimed the lead in the 77th minute when Ramagalela’s shot from 20 yards out deflected off Chippa midfielder Buyani Sali.
The action continued at breakneck speed as Ndlovu made a point-blank save on Manzini, before Rise and Shine were denied what looked a very good call for a penalty when Thato Mokeke seemed to have clipped Anas in the box.
Chippa kept on pressing for a way back, and they had their reward in the 93rd minute when Rakhale stormed into the box and cut the ball back for Mayambela to emphatically bury a first-time shot past Ndlovu.
The result leaves Polokwane in third spot ahead of the weekend’s action.
African News Agency (ANA)