Fun start to schools’ clash

2013-04-10 00:00

THE first day of the Nashua Maritzburg United Midlands Schools Soccer Challenge got under way at Harry Gwala stadium yesterday, with four schools kicking off the eight-team knockout tournament.

The tournament sees four quarter-finals take place over two legs each, 30 minutes per half, where the away goals rule will be applied, although all the matches take place at Harry Gwala.

The two schools that reach the final will meet in the curtain raiser to Maritzburg United’s last home game of the PSL season against Ajax Cape Town on May 11.

In yesterday’s first clash, a highly entertaining and evenly matched game saw Haythorne Secondary and Linpark High share the spoils in a 1-1 draw, though Linpark will be the happier of the sides as they have an away goal in the pocket.

The first half belonged to Haythorne, and they took the lead in the 10th minute when Malibongwe Ngwane blasted home a shot from just inside the area that thundered in off the underside of the crossbar.

But to Linpark’s credit, they responded well to the goal and began to string a few passes together on the lush Harry Gwala surface.

With the second half just as frantic as the first, Linpark were rewarded for their perseverance in the 48th minute when Andiswa Ndawonde sidefooted the ball home with finesse after being put in one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

The second match on the day saw Ixopo High, who were “hosting” Mehlokazulu High, going down 2-0. While not as physical as the first match, the boys from Imbali showed plenty of skill on the ball and found the Ixopo defence wanting in the early stages.

It took 16 minutes for striker Mpumelelo Sithole to break the deadlock while Ixopo were down to 10 men with a man off injured. But, in truth, Mehlokazulu should have already been two or three up by that stage as they were wasteful with their chances in front of goal.

Ixopo were much better in the second half, and were able to manufacture a few chances of their own, but they had the wind knocked out of their sails in the 42nd minute when Sithole bagged his second of the afternoon after turning in a driven ball from the right flank.

Ixopo now have it all to do in the return leg on April 18, where they must overturn a two goal deficit should they wish to advance to the semi-finals.

Action resumes this afternoon with the other two quarter-finals. In the 2.30 pm kickoff. Alexandra High host Sobantu Secondary while the pick of the quarter-finals and the 4.15 pm kickoff sees Carter High host Maritzburg College, where United’s very own Bandile Shandu appears set to play some part in the fixture for College.



Haythorne 1 – 1 Linpark

Ixopo 0 – Mehlokazulu 2


Alexandra v Sobantu

Carter v College

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