DURBAN – It was a dream start for Linda Mntambo as he netted a brace on debut in a 2-0 Absa Premiership victory for Chippa United over AmaZulu at King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi on Sunday.
Mntambo joined Chippa United last week from NFD outfit Jomo Cosmos, and was handed his debut and didn’t disappoint.
He broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute after he was well-spotted by Paseka Mako, and Mntambo unleashed a bullet that left Energy Murambadoro shocked between the sticks for Usuthu.
It was Mntambo again who stretched the lead for the Chilli Boys as he played a good one-two with Mxolisi Macupu and then showed composure to beat Murambadoro on 60 minutes.
Mntambo was the star for Chippa at the heart of midfield. He made things happen for them with his intelligent passes and clever skills to penetrate the defence of Usuthu.
He played like a man who has been with the Chilli Boys for a while.
The three points propelled Chippa United to sixth on the log with 22 points. They are now six points behind log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.
Chippa United have been busy in this transfer window, signing the likes of Mntambo, Macupu and Thabo Rakhale.
They lost captain Diamond Thopola and Phetso Maphanga, who both joined Orlando Pirates.
Chippa boss Tebogo Moloi didn’t hesitate to throw his new signings straight away into the match-day squad.
Mntambo and Macupu were in the starting XI, while Rakhale came on for Xolani Maholo after the interval.
On other hand, Usuthu’s mentor Cavin Johnson handed a debut to SA Under-20 international Sibusiso Mabiliso, who operated at left back.
He was impressive going forward and did very well in defence.
The game was played at a high tempo, but both teams lost possession too easily.
Usuthu created better goal-scoring opportunities but failed to make them count. Sduduzo Dlamini hit the crossbar after 15 minutes.
AmaZulu were lucky not to concede in the 32nd minute as Zephania Mbokoma rolled past Thembela Sikhakhane and unleashed a thunderous shot that went off target.
Kurt Lentjies fluffed another opportunity to put the Chilli Boys in front after he was well spotted by Mntambo, but he shot straight at Murambadoro.
The two sides went into the interval at 0-0.
AmaZulu should have taken the lead seconds after the break, but Manzini shot straight at James Okwuoso, who did well to put his body on the line.
Supporters started producing the traditional substitution signal for Manzini, and Johnson did exactly as he brought in Mhlengi Cele after 54 minutes.
In search of the equaliser, Johnson also brought in Mabhudi Khenyeza for Michael Morton.
Cele was denied by Mako as his header was going straight in the back of the net on 74 minutes after a telling cross by Jabulani Ncobeni.
It was all about Usuthu in the last 15 minutes, but Brighton Mhlongo earned his clean sheets with some brilliant saves.
Usuthu are now six matches without the victory, with their last win coming against Mamelodi Sundowns on October 21.