Chippa United came from a goal down to claim a 1-1 draw in a fiercely-contested Premiership encounter at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday night.
In a fast-paced game, the KZN side had the better of the early exchanges and took the lead through Knox Mutizwa midway through the first half.
But Chippa, who went on to enjoy the better chances in the second half, equalised through Lerato Manzini 20 minutes from time.
Arrows stamped their authority on the match from the kickoff, and after Danny Venter had sounded a warning with a ninth-minute shot which he dragged marginally wide, the Durban team drew first blood.
Divine Lunga stole the ball off Zitha Macheke, before cutting it back for Mutizwa to fire clinically into the roof of the net from six yards.
Chippa, coached by former Arrows mentor Clinton Larsen, were spurred into action by the setback, and it took a couple of saves from visiting keeper Nkosingiphile Gumede to prevent Kurt Lentjies from getting on the score-sheet.
The Chilli Boys took their momentum into the second half, although they were fortunate to escape conceding a second after Lerato Lamola’s 52nd-minute goal was ruled offside.
The hosts were perhaps also lucky not to have their numbers reduced to 10 after Lerato Manzini stomped on Limbikani Mzava’s ankle, Manzini escaping even a yellow card.
Chippa, who are now four points clear of the drop zone ahead of the weekend’s action, remained on the front foot, and they were inches away from scoring just after the hour mark when Ruzaigh Gamilidien struck the upright from the edge of the area.
The lively home supporters didn’t have to wait too much longer though, as Manzini bundled the ball into the net at the far post in the 70th minute after Mark Mayambela had flicked on Lentjies’ cross.
Just a minute later, Abafana bes’Thende should have reclaimed the lead when Lunga beat two men and crossed for Mutizwa, but he got the angle on his header badly wrong.
The hosts pushed hard for a winner, and it took a superb tackle from Venter in the 89th minute to stop Macheke from pulling the trigger from close range.
Gumede nearly gifted Chippa all three points when he fumbled the ball right on the line before recovering – in what was the final play of an entertaining game.
African News Agency (ANA)