CAPE TOWN - DStv Premiership newcomers Royal AM scrapped tirelessly for a historic win after a Victor Letsoalo penalty secured a 1-0 win over visiting Chippa United and Chatsworth Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Royal lost their opening two matches of the season, and the 1-0 victory, their first in top-flight football, will lift them off the bottom of the log. Chippa surrendered their unbeaten record after they bagged a win and a draw in their opening matches.
Royal produced a vastly improved performance in the first half, and their attacking efforts were worth at least a goal. However, they failed to capitalise on a few chances, which emerged after a few penetrative sorties into the opposition goalmouth.
Chippa were content to sit back and counter-attack when the opportunity arose. Chippa's defence soaked up the pressure without conceding. They compounded their task by trying to stage attacks from deep options when clearing the lines were the safer option.
Royal skipper Ndumiso Mabena was a constant threat on attack, and he sounded a warning in the second minute after he overlapped down the right flank. He managed to shield the ball as he worked his way into the striking but couldn't match his finish with his endeavour.
Just past the half-hour mark Mabena against featured prominently, but he failed to make an impact after excellent goalkeeping by Chippa's Ugandan goalkeeper Ismail Watenga. First, Mabena meandered into the Chippa penalty area after stalking into the attack out wide on the left, but his parting shot was turned away for a corner.
Moments later, he emerged on the opposite side of the striking zone and struck a powerful shot, but the effort flew straight into the grateful hands of Watenga.
In the 37th minute, he suffered a cruel twist of fate and was forced to leave the field with an ankle injury. He was replaced by Levy Mashiane.
After a goalless first half, Royal returned for second-half duty with the same sense of urgency, and six minutes later, Lady Luck smiled on them when they were awarded a fortuitous penalty. In the goalmouth melee, the ball was struck against the arm of Chippa defender Riaan Hanamub, who had his back to the ball at the time.
Referee Christopher Kistoor pointed to the spot, and Victor Letsoalo stepped up to blast the ball into the net after sending Watenga the wrong way.
Chippa coach brought on substitute Athini Jodwana to add some bite to the 'Chilli Boys' attack. He came close with two scoring efforts from range soon after he joined the fray.
Royal's Cameroon goalkeeper Patrick Nyamé kept his team's slender 1-0 lead intact when he turned away a close-in Chippa free-kick for a corner late in the second half.