Eva Nga Bienvenu netted a hat-trick as Chippa United rallied from behind to record a 3-1 victory over 10-man Maritzburg United at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Tuesday night.
Maritzburg drew first blood through Daylon Claasen on 10 minutes before Maritzburg drew level through Eva Nga’s 24th-minute penalty.
Eva Nga doubled his tally with another spot-kick after the break and added a third on 66 minutes, before Martizburg’s Sibusiso Hlubi was given his marching orders with 15 minutes remaining.
The opening spell proved to be a low-key affair with no clear-cut chances, but Maritzburg grew in confidence and looked threatening whenever they worked the ball into the final third of the pitch.
The match eventually sprang to life on ten minutes as Claasen latched onto Keagan Buchanan’s miscued shot before placing a low shot in the right-hand corner of goal.
The Chilli Boys quickly clawed their way back into the game, though, earning a penalty on 23 minutes after Augustine Kwem was brought down in the area by Nathanael Mbourou.
Eva Nga stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick and made no mistake, slotting the ball into the bottom-right corner to bring Chippa back on level terms.
Maritzburg redoubled their efforts after conceding the equaliser but despite going close to regaining the lead on three separate occasions, they were unable to find the all-important breakthrough.
The visitors started brightly after the interval and had a glorious opportunity to reclaim the lead on 50 minutes, but Jose Meza fired his shot straight at the keeper when well placed to score.
They had another great chance just three minutes later but that too went to waste as Tebogo Tlolane fired wide on the volley after being teed up by Dan Morgan.
And Maritzburg were made to rue those missed opportunities as Chippa earned another penalty in the 58th minute, Eva Nga going down under a challenge from goalkeeper Jethren Barr.
Eva Nga took the spot-kick after dusting himself down, sending his shot to the left of Barr and into the back of the net.
The Chilli Boys didn’t let up and they struck again in the 67th minute as Eva Nga completed his hat-trick with a calm finish after being played through in on goal by Tumiso Mogakwe.
And Martizburg’s hopes of mounting a late comeback were dealt a hammer blow ten minutes later as Hlubi saw red for a nasty foul on Sizwe Mdlinzo.
But despite being a man down, Maritzburg didn’t let their heads drop and very nearly pulled one back in the 80th minute as Judas Moseamedi saw his goalbound shot saved by Veli Mothwa in the Chippa goal.
That was the last chance of note, however, as Chippa held firm in the closing stages of the contest to claim their first win of the new campaign.
– TEAMtalk media