The Team of Choice had started the match with good intensity after working hard to stamp their authority on proceedings.

And their efforts paid off in the 10th minute when Daylon Claasen won the ball in midfield before unloading to Keegan Buchanan. Buchanan then fired the ball goalwards and into the path of Claasen, who showed a lovely touch to take the ball in his stride before an equally accomplished flick ended with the ball in the back of the net.

The match remained tightly poised although if anything it was Maritzburg who continued to enjoy the upper hand.

But the complexion of the game was to turn against them midway through the first half when Augustine Kwem went down under a challenge by Nathanael Bongo Mbourou and a penalty was awarded.

Bienvenu Evanga made no mistake as he put the hosts back on equal terms in the 24th minute.

Maritzburg tried to regain the initiative with some probing play. They didn’t however overly trouble the Chippa defence, apart from a snap volley from Mbourou which veered wide and a shot from Thabiso Kutumela two minutes before half time which drew a good save from goalkeeper Veli Mothwa.

The Team of Choice also had a chance after the restart when Tebogo Tlolane teed up a cross from Dan Morgan but was unable to keep his 55th minute volley on target.

United then conceded another penalty when Evanga drew a foul from goalkeeper Jethren Barr and converted the spot kick himself to put Chippa 2-1 up on the hour mark.

It got worse for the KwaZulu-Natal team six minutes later when Tumiso Mogakwe cut through our defence and off-loaded for Evanga, who coolly rolled the ball home with an angled shot for his hat-trick.

A tough situation was compounded for Maritzburg with 15 minutes to go when Sibusiso Hlubi’s foul on Sizwe Mdlinzo resulted in a red card.

Maritzburg showed some character as they tried to fight back and Judas Moseamedi looked set to score in the 82nd minute when he did well to get snap shot away, but he was denied by a brilliant reflex save by Mothwa.

There were another couple of half chances but it was a night to forget for the Team of Choice as Chippa maintained their two goal cushion.

Chippa United (1) 3 (Eva Nga 24’ pen 59’ pen 66’)
Maritzburg United (1) 1 (Claasen 10’)

Chippa: Mothwa, Damons, Nsabiyumva, Mthethwa, Hanamub, Lebitso, Mahola (Cezu 70’), Mdlinzo, Ramasimong (Maziya 79’), Eva Nga (Sekotlong 79’), Kwem (Mogakwe 55’)

Maritzburg: Barr, Mngonyama (Sanoka 77’), Allie, De Reuck, Morgan, Claasen, Buchanan (Sandows 62’), Bongo Mbourou (Shandu 90+1’), Tlolane (Hlubi 62’), Meza, Kutumela (Moseamedi 62’).

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