The Port Elizabeth community has been starved of Premier Soccer League football for years, since the days of Bay United. The locals would have been very proud of their new adopted local team Chippa United performance against Orlando Pirates, as they won the match 1-0, from an early goal from their striker David Zulu.
Orlando Pirates came into this encounter looking to bounce back from their previous weekend’s MTN8 final defeat to their bitter rivals, Kaizer Chiefs. That defeat in the final made head coach Vladimir Vermezovic to make several changes to the team that lost to Kaizer Chiefs, with Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Thabo Qalinge and Mpho Makola coming in for Happy Jele, Sifiso Myeni and Issa Saar respectively. The Buccaneers were eager to beat Chippa United for the first time, while the Chilli Boys came into this clash looking to give Roger Sikhakhane his second successive victory as their head coach, since the departure of former coach Kostadin Papic.
The visitors attacked their opponents from the beginning of the match, with Mpho Makola coming close as early as in the second minute from a corner- kick; however, Makola’s header struck the framework with Mbongeni Mzimela well beaten before Chippa United defenders recovered to clear the ball away from the danger area. Four minutes later, the home side took the lead against the run of play, from a counter attack with striker David Zulu finding himself in space behind the Pirates defence after dribbling past a couple of the Orlando Pirates defenders, before slotting a well-timed and directed shot past Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa with his left foot in the bottom corner.
Chippa United did well to give their opponents no space in front of their own goalkeeper, with their big and physically stronger defenders forcing Orlando Pirates to take shots from long range. Thandani Ntshumayelo tested Mzimela from distance in the 26th minute, only for the former AmaZulu goalkeeper to gather the shot easily. Mpho Makola had a chance to beat Mzimela from a free-kick, but the midfielder missed the target, with his attempt going to the right hand side of Mzimela’s goal. Chippa United held on to their 1-0 lead going into the break, as they kept Pirates at bay in the first 45 minutes.
Orland Pirates coach Vladimir Vermezovic saw that the tactics he had used in the first half didn’t work and that he needed a new plan to break down the tight defense of the home team. He made two changes towards the hour-mark, introducing both Lehlohonolo Majoro and Sifiso Myeni for Mpho Makola and Thabo Qalinge respectively. Pirates threatened to score but they were still unable to break down Chippa United’s defence, let alone test Mzimela, who was hardly tested in the entire game as Pirates had a single shot on target in the second half through substitute Sifiso Myeni, despite dominating possession, especially in the last 20 minutes of the game. The Soweto giants still couldn’t get past the Chippa United defense.
In the end, the Port Elizabeth outfit walked away with all the points after having a remarkable performance especially by their defenders in front of their home fans, who would be proud of their local team.
By: Luzuko Sampo