By MOLOKELA MODIBA
SANTOS’s hopes of bouncing back to the country’s top flight league went up in smoke after they narrowly lost 1-0 to Chippa United in a return match of the National First Division Relegation/Promotion Play-Offs
This Cape derby which was played in front of a disappointing crowd was a must win for either of the two sides which played to a draw in the first leg of these play-offs before they could each lost to another promotion hopefuls, Mpumalanga Black Aces who handed United 1-0 before they could turn the heat on Santos with a 2-1 victory to stay comfortably on the top spot in this mini league play-offs.
Andile Mbenyane slotted home the lone goal as early as the 19th minute after he finished off William Twala’s pass to hand the Chilli Boys the much needed victory to keep their hopes of maintaining their elite league status.
The results came as a big blow for the People’s Team (third on the log with 1 point from three matches) as Santos as they will have to wait for another season to try their luck as far as bouncing back to the top flight is concerned.
Chippa’s victory has seen them close the gap between themselves and log leaders Mpumalanga Black Aces who are on top with 6 points as opposed to the Cape side’s 4 points.
The two sides face each other in the game which Aces has to win at all cost to guarantee their return to the bigger league.
A draw in this match will see the Cape side kissing goodbye their elite league status as it would mean that they finished the play-offs with only five points with Aces on top with 7 points plus a game to play against Santos.