Lerato Manzini came the closest to breaking the deadlock for Chippa United by hitting the upright against Bloemfontein Celtic. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

PORT ELIZABETH – Chippa United and Bloemfontein Celtic played to a 0-0 draw in a dour Absa Premiership fixture at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday.

The encounter was typical of two teams battling at the wrong end of the PSL standings, in that there was a lot of endeavour, but not all that much with regard to quality.

For Chippa, Sizwe Mdlinzo tried his luck from distance early on, but his effort sailed over the crossbar.

Kurt Lentjies was making things happen in midfield for the Port Elizabeth side, but Celtic’s defence held firm.

Chippa’s best chance of the half came in the 38th minute when Lentjies whipped in a great corner, but James Okwousa’s attempt hit the woodwork.

Celtic had their moments too, but never really troubled Chippa’s goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi in an opening 45 minutes characterised by tight, compact play.

With so little space at hand, it was no surprise that there weren’t that many scoring opportunities.

The two teams came out in the second half looking a bit more purposeful, though both were clearly not prepared to risk too much.

Six minutes into the second half, Chippa made a change, bringing on Zephania Mbokoma for Mpho Mvelase – and it nearly paid dividends when Mbokoma got a shot in on goal with his first touch, but it went straight to Celtic goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb.

At the other end, Celtic threatened from a free-kick by Deon Hotto, but the Namibian’s curling shot was easily dealt with by Akpeyi.

And for Chippa, Okwuosa had another chance, but his header flew over the bar.

Chippa made another change, taking off Lentjies and bringing on Menzi Masuku, hoping his creativity could open up the resolute and organised defence of the Bloemfontein side.

But it was the final substitution that finally inspired the team from Port Elizabeth when Moeketsi Sekola was replaced by Lerato Manzini.

Manzini provided more energy in attack and he had a fantastic attempt on goal, which, unfortunately, hit the upright.

Chippa threw everything at Celtic in the closing stages and were desperately unlucky not to snatch the points at the death, with Mdlinzo invitingly teed-up in the five-yard area, but his close-in header was brilliantly stopped by Tignyemb.

African News Agency (ANA)