Johannesburg - Chippa United took full advantage of a debatable red card to beat 10-man Moroka Swallows 2-0 in an Absa Premiership clash at the Dobsonville Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
In the Chilli Boys’ first match following the departure of Kotsa Papic, goals from Ugonna Uzochukwu and David Zulu took them to their first victory since the opening weekend of the 2014/15 season.
As for the Birds, it is a third defeat in their last four league matches, though coach Zeca Marques will rightly bemoan the controversial decision to reduce his team to 10 men that so drastically affected this match.
Chippa started brightly and almost opened the scoring in the third minute through Chris Komane, who headed just wide of the near post from a corner kick. Two minutes later William Twala lobbed the ball wide of goal, with debutant ‘keeper Sage Stephens having rushed brashly off his line.
Midway through the first half, Chippa’s George Akpabio was guilty of missing a clear opportunity. David Zulu played his strike partner through on goal with a perfectly weighted ball, but Akpabio somehow chipped the ball wide with only Stephens to beat.
Swallows worked their way into the game and began to create opportunities, but their hopes were dealt a massive blow in the final minute of regulation time in the first half when referee Lwandile Mfiki inexplicably sent off debutant Anver Esterhuizen for a supposed elbow into the face of Ugonna Uzochukwu. Television replays suggested it was an incredibly harsh call from the official.
It didn’t take long after the resumption for the Chilli Boys to take advantage of their numerical superiority. A corner kick routine saw Mpho Mvelase attempt a shot which skewed off the side of his foot, only to turn into a perfect cross for Uzochukwu to head home from close range.
On 73 minutes Chippa doubled their lead. Again Mvelase was the architect, providing a lovely assist from the right by-line that allowed David Zulu to run onto his pass across the face of goal before finding the top corner from a tight angle with an ice-cool finish.
Moroka Swallows 0
Chippa United (0) 2 (Uzochukwu 48’, D. Zulu 73’)
Moroka Swallows: Stephens, Isaacs (Hendricks 65’), Mungomeni, Savic, Giuricich, Mandic (Sibande 40’), Phalane (Nomvethe 57’), Esterhuizen, Mabalane, Chabangu, Obada
Chippa United: Mzimela, S. Zulu, Komane, Okwuosa, Sambu, Mvelase, Uzochukwu, Sangweni (Nene 70’), Twala (D. Zwane 63’), Akpabio, D. Zulu (Shai 79’)