The Nedbank Cup Round of 16 resumed on Saturday afternoon with two exciting games on offer.
In the pick of the afternoon’s action, it was an all Premier Soccer League (PSL) affair as a struggling Chippa United travelled to Bethlehem to lock horns with a confident Free State Stars. The clash gave both sides a potential springboard to challenge for silverware this season and this led to coach Luc Eymael naming a strong attacking side. The Belgium-born mentor gave his fellow countryman Maxime Cosse and goalkeeper Thela Ngobeni a run, while Chippa’s new coach Vladislav Heric was hoping to hit the ground running and opted for the creativity of Kurt Lentjies and Thabo Rakhale upfront.
However, it would not be Chippa’s day as Ea Lla Koto continued their dominance at home beating the Chilli Boys 2-1. The first half though was a relatively quiet affair with Thabo Rakhale having arguably the best chance of the half only for his effort to be easily saved by Ngobeni.
Nonetheless, the second half saw the game almost immediately come into life as Paulus Masehe showed his aerial prowess and rolled back the years as he headed the ball past a helpless Brighton Mhlongo from a corner kick just after the resumption of the game.
While Stars were organised at the back, Chippa pressed on in search of an equaliser and were rewarded just before the hour mark. Chippa midfielder Linda Mntambo was rather fortunes as his low free kick deflected off a defender and wrong footed Ngobeni.
The goal led to Chippa moving back onto the front foot, and Stars will need to thank their lucky stars or in this case Ngobeni for keeping them in the clash as he made a world class stop to deny the Eastern Cape outfit.
But with time running out and the game looking destined for extra-time, a goal mouth scramble saw Stars’ defender Bangali Keita lash home a shot following yet another set piece. The goal came as the killer blow as the home side held on to progress into the quarter finals at Goble Park.
Meanwhile, in the day’s other action Baroka FC overcame minnows Steenberg United at the Peter Mokaba Stadium. After Ubuntu Cape Town had knocked AmaZulu out of the tournament on Friday night, Bakgaga were looking to avoid a similar outcome.
Nevertheless, Rhulani Sidumo opened the scoring in the 42nd minute, before Tebogo Sodi wrapped up the victory six minutes before the end. Baroka will now join Free State Stars and Ubuntu Cape Town in the next round.