Another draw for United

2013-04-24 00:00

THERE was nothing lost and not too much gained in Maritzburg United’s bid for a top eight finish in the PSL after a 0-0 draw away at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium against SuperSport United last night.

The result means that Maritzburg remain in sixth place on the log with just four matches remaining in what is shaping up to be the best season in the club’s history.

Maritzburg coach Ernst Middendorp had recalled Ghanaian centre back Mohamed Awal for his starting lineup to partner former SuperSport player Mario Booysen at the heart of Maritzburg’s defence.

There was also a rare start for Pietermaritzburg local Philani Zulu on the right of midfield as Orlando Smeekes, a goal scorer from United’s 2-2 draw with Golden Arrows last week, occupied the bench.

SuperSport were nearly 1-0 just seconds into the match when striker Bradley Grobler missed narrowly after slicing through the Maritzburg defence. That set the tone for opening stages of the match, as Maritzburg gave away the ball needlessly on too many occasions and SuperSport dominated possession.

But Shu-Aib Walters in the Maritzburg goal was relatively untroubled as Awal and Booysen did just about enough to keep a Kermit Erasmus-inspired SuperSport attack at bay.

As has been the case many a time this campaign, Cuthbert Malajila chased every ball tirelessly.

Maritzburg got more and more into the game without really threatening, but there was a moment of concern for Team of Choice fans in the 39th minute when Walters misjudged a through pass and handled the ball outside of his box. But the free kick in a dangerous position was poorly taken by Sameehg Doutie and Walters went unpunished.

Maritzburg had a golden chance of their own to go into the break 1-0 up — Malajila using his pace to break through the SuperSport defensive line before blasting his effort wide and to the right of goal.

SuperSport coach Gavin Hunt brought on veteran Sibusiso Zuma at half time in a move that made his attacking intentions clear to see.

But it was the visitors who started the half the better of the side, and Maritzburg’s playmaker Delron Buckley had the first real chance of the half when he hit a right footed effort from just outside the area over the bar.

Grobler had a great opportunity for SuperSport just past the hour mark, but Booysen had done enough to track his run and the striker could not generate enough power on his shot to test Walters.

It was quite clear that neither side was playing for a draw. Middendorp brought on Terrance Mandaza for Zulu, but even that couldn’t spark any real opportunities for Maritzburg.

Grobler capped off a wasteful evening when he squandered a golden opportunity in the 80th minute after showing good control to create the chance inside Maritzburg’s area.

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