Chippa, Wits share spoils in Cape Town
An 89th-minute goal from Erwin Isaacs denied Chippa United their first win of the season as they drew 1-1 with Wits at the Athlone Stadium on Sunday.
With coach Roger Sikhakhane back in charge, it was a vastly changed Chippa side that started, with a handful of different players coming in from the side that drew with Black Leopards two weeks ago, including debuts for new signings Brent Carelse and Cole Alexander.
Alexander was influential early on, sending in a dangerous free-kick and testing goalkeeper Steven Hoffman with a low drive, as did Andile Mbenyane, the young shot stopper, however, looking solid.
The Chilli Boys were creating the better chances and they went in front after 30 minutes when Diego Brown's whipped free-kick was met with a powerful header by Vuyisile Ntombayithethi, beating Hoffman in the process.
The Clever Boys lifted their game as they looked to hit back, but Chippa goalkeeper Kassaly Daoda did well to twice deny Sibusiso Vilakazi.
Brown nearly set up a second home goal with another dangerous delivery into the box, but captain Gift Sithole failed to get anything on the ball from right in front of goal.
Five minutes before the break, there was another chance for the home side, but Mbenyane got under Brown's quality cross and sent his header looping over the bar.
There was a return to his former hunting ground for former Santos player Isaacs as he started the second half in place of Vilakazi.
The visiting side spent more time in Chippa's half after the restart, but struggled to create chances in dangerous positions as the hosts defended with good shape and commitment.
The hosts looked determine to keep Wits off the score-sheet, with their own attacking forays limited more to efforts on the counter.
This resulted in few chances on goal at either end, the next real opportunity arriving in the 81st minute when Petros Ngebo headed wide, followed shortly by Isaacs's 25 yard effort which was comfortably saved by Daoda.
But there was not much the Niger keeper could do in the 89th minute when Isaacs pounced on a loose ball to slam home an unstoppable rising effort into the far post.
Then somehow at the other end, Hoffman was able to get a hand on William Twala's deflected effort before stealing the ball off Ngebo's feet.