East London - Sammy Seabi scored a screamer of a goal to see Chippa United claim a clutch 1-0 win over Stellenbosch FC in a DStv Premiership clash at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane near East London on Sunday afternoon.
Seabi’s second-half strike sees the Chilli Boys take a major stride toward securing safety, moving five points clear of the relegation zone and up to 12th place, while the result leaves the Maroons in sixth and effectively ends their participation in the race for the runners-up berth.
It was also Chippa’s first home league win of the 2021/2022 season.
Stellenbosch bossed the early proceedings and nearly claimed the lead in the fifth minute, with Judas Moseamedi feeding Ashley Du Preez down the left of the penalty area, but the forward saw his shot from a tight angle well saved by Chippa goalkeeper Lloyd Kazapua.
Chippa gradually found a foothold in the game and started to offer a threat in attack when the speedy Azola Matrose got on the ball, dragging defenders out of position in the wide areas and looking to feed striker Bienvenu Eva Nga.
Yet the Maroons remained potent with their quick transitions and had a great chance to break the deadlock midway through the first half when Moseamedi put Juan Ortiz through on goal, but he was bravely denied by a smothering save from Kazapua.
Chances dried up for the remainder of the first half, leaving the teams locked at 0-0 heading into the interval.
Chippa made an attacking change at the start of the second half, with Matrose swopped out for veteran forward Thokozani Sekotlong.
Both sides struggled to build any kind of attacking momentum, with Stellenbosch notably opting for conservatism midway through the second half when they withdrew attacker Moseamedi and replaced him with the defensive-minded Robyn Johannes.
The Chilli Boys almost scored a goal out of nowhere, with Eva Nga using his strength to force himself into a one-on-one chance on 69 minutes, but he was denied by a brilliant one-handed save from Sage Stephens.
Yet the Stellies goalkeeper was beaten all ends up on 74 minutes when substitute Sammy Seabi ripped a fearsome long-range effort just inside Stephens’s right-hand post – having been set up by a mazy piece of dribbling from Sekotlong.
The Eastern Cape side were able to see out the remainder of the match and secure just their fifth win of the season.
They have 25 points compared to 23 for Maritzburg United, 22 for TS Galaxy, 20 for Swallows FC (who drew 1-1 with Marumo Gallants in a simultaneous match) and 18 for bottom-of-the-log Baroka FC.
Stellenbosch will be back in DStv Premiership action on April 23 with a match at home to Kaizer Chiefs, while Chippa’s next league match is away to Orlando Pirates on April 27.