Late equaliser denies Chippa historic first PSL victory
New boys Chippa United were two minutes away from carving out a historic first ever Premier Soccer League win at Cape Town’s Athlone Stadium on Sunday, but were denied by a late Wits equaliser.
Andile Mbenyane’s 32nd minute goal, at the end of a free kick, had Chippa on course to mark a successful return to the bench for coach Roger Sikhakhane, who was brought back after his success in leading the side to promotion in June.
But Erwin Isaacs, on his return to his home town after being sold by Santos, hammered home from a corner to give Wits a deserved share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw in which they were wasteful but dominated.
The “Chilli Boys” produced some dangerous counter attacks and solid shooting, but in truth they benefitted most from a sloppy performance by Wits’ new-look, and supposedly star- studded, line-up, who dominated proceedings but finished poorly and were shocking in defence.
They might boast two former Bafana Bafana captains in central defence, with some 150 caps between them, but neither Aaron Mokoena nor Mbulelo Mabizela produced any leadership at the back and were guilty of ball watching at key moments.
In the end Isaacs spared their blushes and they might have grabbed a late winner from Mabizela as the game finished with drama at both ends of the pitch.
It was the guile and acumen of Brent Carelse, bought on the cheap by Chippa from Ajax, that shone best, although he was almost out on his feet with tiredness near the end. The 31-year- old was the conductor of the home orchestra with an array of fine passes, when Chippa had rare sight of the ball.
Wits dominated possession and forced 15 corners to just two for their hosts. That they were not able to notch up an easy win reflects the need for much work ahead for their coach Antonio Lopez.