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Stellenbosch FC 1-1 Chippa United: Chilli Boys fight back to salvage important point

11:25 PM IST 28/08/20
Diamond Thopola of Chippa United challenged by Lelethu Skelem of Stellenbosch FC, August 2020
Thokozani Sekotlong was the hero for the visitors as his late strike cancelled out Waseem Isaacs' opening goal

Chippa United showed good character as they came back to hold Stellenbosch FC to a 1-1 draw in a Premier Soccer League (PSL) match which was played on Friday evening.

Stellies were keen to boost their hopes of finishing in the top eight following their 1-1 draw with Kaizer Chiefs which extended their unbeaten run to three matches.

Waseem Isaacs made his first competitive appearance for Steve Barker's side in 2020, while Leletu Skelem kept his place in the starting line-up having netted in his last two games.

On the other hand, the Chilli Boys were desperate to secure a win which would have ensured that they retain their status in the elite league having defeated Baroka FC 1-0 in their previous match.

Coach Lehlohonolo Seema made four changes to the team which took on Bakgaga Ba Mphahlele, with Thabiso Lebitso and Boikanyo Komane amongst the players who were returning to the starting line-up.

Stellenbosch dominated the match from the start with Isaacs and Skelem causing havoc for the Chippa defence with their clever movement in the visitors' half.

Isaacs marked his return to starting line-up with a goal when he pounced on a loose ball and beat Veli Mothwa in the Chilli Boys goal to make it 1-0 to Stellenbosch 16 minutes into the game.

Mothwa, who has kept 10 clean sheets from 17 league matches, was a busy man as he was forced to make a fine low save to deny Isaacs, with the striker looking to net his eighth goal of the season. 

The Chilli Boys defence were struggling to contain the Stellies attackers and Mothwa was forced to come out rushing to deny Ryan Moon from a one-on-one situation.

Skelem had an opportunity to make it three goals in as many games, but he was brilliantly denied by Mothwa, who ensured that the first half ended with Stellenbosch leading 1-0.

Chippa came back rejuvenated following their half-time team talk with Seema, who had pulled out holding midfielder Lehlogonolo Masalesa and introduced attack-minded Kurt Lentjies.

Lee Langeveldt was the busier of the two goalkeepers as he was forced to finger-tip Chippa full-back Diamond Thopola's dangerous curling cross over the crossbar.

Before producing a wonderful save from close range after Andile Mbenyane connected well with a delightful cross from Phetso Maphanga, as the Chilli Boys pushed for the equalizing goal.

Barker reacted by introducing a holding midfielder Jarred Moorole as Stellies looked to regain control of the match.

Stellenbosch came very close to doubling their lead following a mistake by Mothwa, who misjudged the ball, but Skelem's low shot went across the face of goal and Chippa survived a scare.

The momentum was with the Chilli Boys in the closing stages of the match and Langeveldt pulled off two great saves to deny Frederic Nsabiyumva from close range and Mbenyane from a free-kick.

However, the experienced shot-stopper was finally beaten in stoppage time when second-half substitute Thokozani Sekotlong netted with a deflected shot and ultimately, the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

The result saw the Chilli Boys remain 12th in the league standings, six points above the relegation zone, while Stellies moved up to the eighth spot on the log with two games left for both teams.