Flames attacking midfielder Gerald Phiri Jnr on Sunday stepped off the bench to strike a late priceless equaliser which rescued Platinum Stars from the jaws of defeat against Chippa United in a South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) match.
The two teams played out a three-all draw in an East London thrilling contest monitored on digital satellite television (DStv) Super Sport channel 4.
There were just two minutes left and the intensity of the pressure on Phiri, as he stepped up to take a free-kick, was massive.
And with the hopes of the entire Platinum side resting on the Malawian player, there was no margin of error.
The dead ball specialist chose to go for dexterity and released a fabulous curler that squirmed past Chippa’s goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi and relief was the prevalent emotion in Platinum’s camp.
It was Phiri’s first game on his return to Dikwena for another loan spell and he could not hide his excitement in an interview from the rainbow nation yesterday.
“It was a great feeling to score on my return, especially that it came late into the game,” he said.
However, Platinum still anchor the 16-team league with 16 points from 12 games, but Phiri is optimistic they will get out of the relegation murky waters.
His compatriot Robert Ng’ambi also featured for Platinum but was substituted in the 58th minute for BonginkosiNtuli.
Chippa took the lead courtesy of Mark Mayambela. However, Riyaad Norodien got the equaliser for Platinum with a low shot after being put through by Ng’ambi just before half time.
Mayambela restored Chippa’s lead in the 60th minute to claim a brace, but similarly, Norodien also grabbed his through a free-kick to level the scores after being set-up by Phiri in the 75th minute.
Andile Mbenyane reclaimed the lead for Chippa before Phiri’s late equaliser. n