Chippa United drop into relegation zone with Highlands loss

Samuel Shivambu/Backpagepix

Highlands Park overtook Chippa United and moved out of the PSL relegation zone after a 1-0 Absa Premiership victory over their rivals at the Makhulong Stadium on Friday.

Billed as a relegation six-pointer, both teams needed a win in Tembisa as they continue to scrap for South African top-flight survival, and it was the home side that came out with three vital points with Collins Mbesuma scoring a second-half penalty to settle the contest.

After kick-off was delayed by 45 minutes due to a power failure, play eventually got underway in rainy and wind-swept conditions unconducive to flowing football.

With scoring chances proving few and far between, it was the Lions of the North that managed to find the telling goal in the 65th minute via the penalty spot.

Justice Chabalala was adjudged to have brought down Seun Ledwaba inside the Chippa penalty area under slight contact and the referee pointed to the spot, where Zambia marksman Collins Mbesuma duly accepted the chance to score from 12 yards.

Peter Shalulile should have made it 2-0 five minutes later when he was played in behind the Chilli Boys defence only to send his shot wide, while Chippa were unable to find any proper rhythm despite their best attempts going forward in search of an equaliser.

Weather conditions did not improve as the game entered its final stages as Highlands held on for an important result which moves them off the bottom of the table to 14th as Chippa drop down to 15th.

Only a point separates the two sides with two league matches remaining.