Maritzburg United grabbed their first win in the Absa Premiership this season after edging Chippa United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday evening.
Chippa lined up differently from the goalless draw over Bloemfontein Celtic, as Thabo Rakhale and Kurt Lenjties were re-called while Jeremy Brockie made his long-awaited debut for the hosts, with Judas Moseamedi dropping to the bench.
Maritzburg had an opportunity to go ahead following a positive start 18 minutes in after Mxolisi Kunene went down in the area, but Chippa shot-stopper Patrick Tignyemb denied Brockie from the penalty spot.
William Twala nearly made the hosts pay for that missed effort minutes when his half-volley crashed the woodwork, with Lentjies misfiring the follow-up. Tignyemb continued frustrating the home side afterwards, denying Brockie and Bandile Shandu from point-blank range in the matter of minutes.
Kunene showed up in unfamiliar territory eight minutes to halftime and rattled the crossbar with a solid effort near the area. However, the Chilli
Boys finally cracked open when Thabiso Kutumela ran to a loose ball in the area to side-foot past Tignyemb three minutes before the break.
Maritzburg made the evening’s first substitution at the restart, as Gilbert Nyoni came on for Micah Lea’alafa.
The visitors struggled to get a hold of the match, as the Team of Choice marshalled their defensive stall effectively well. Kutumela was given a big chance to complete his double in the 66th minute, but he blazed Kunene’s low cross from the left way over the top.
The Chilli Boys pushed strongly for the equaliser late on, but the home side locked up every open space to maintain their ascendancy.
Nevertheless, the Team of Choice went on to grab their first win of the campaign and climbed to 12th spot, while the men from Port Elizabeth remain without a win this season.
Maritzburg: Ofori, De Reuck, Morgan, Xulu, Kunene, Ntshangase, Claasen, Kutumela, Lea'Alafa, Brockie, Shandu.
Subs: Mpandle, Sanoka, Moseamedi, Allie, Hlongwane, Nyoni, Sangweni.
Chippa: Tignyemb, Damons, K.Moyo, Mthethwa, Mashaba, Malepe, Komane, Rakhale, Twala, Lentjies, R.Manzini.
Subs: Mazibuko, Reid, L.Manzini, Nsabiyumva, Maselesa. Maziya, Mbenyane.