Goalless night at PMB

2014-12-06 00:00

THERE were plenty of chances but no goals as Maritzburg United and Tuks drew 0-0 in a PSL encounter at Harry Gwala Stadium last night.

The result sees Maritzburg move back up to third on the log, though that is likely to change by the end of the ­weekend.

United coach Steve Komphela resisted the urge to make any changes from the starting 11 that shocked Orlando Pirates 2-1 in Soweto on Tuesday night, rewarding the players for the fine form they all displayed in that match.

But a moment of absurdity in just the third minute almost brought the home side down to earth.

Virgil Vries came out of his area to clear the ball after Geoffrey Massa had been played in on goal, but the Maritzburg goalkeeper handled outside of his area, gifting Tuks a free kick from just outside the box. The calls from the visiting bench were for the shot stopper to be given a red card for what was clearly an intentional hand ball, but referee Thabo Nkosi opted for yellow instead.

From the resulting free kick Geoffrey Massa rifled his effort to the left of the wall and wide of goal, and Maritzburg had survived an early scare.

That seemed to wake Komphela’s charges up, and they immediately began to show more of the attacking intent they have displayed so far this season — Thokozani Sekotlong in the thick of things from the left wing.

On 12 minutes a Ghanaian combination nearly put Maritzburg ahead. A searching ball from centre back ­Mohamed Awal found striker Mohammed Anas, who brought the ball down expertly before blasting over in one swift movement.

Just four minutes later a good run down the left from Sekotlong opened up the Tuks defence, but his off-balance cross just evaded an outstretched Anas.

Maritzburg remained the side probing most in the final third of the pitch, but they were unable to execute a passing sequence that would create a golden opportunity. Dangerous balls were played into the box and shots were hit from distance, but Tuks stood firm.

The chance of the half came when Tuks failed to clear a cross from the right and the ball fell to Abel Mabaso. The Maritzburg right back had time to steady himself before bashing off his shot, but it was blocked by a sprawled Siyabonga Shoyisa.

As was the case in the first half, it was Tuks who created the first real chance of the second. Atusaye Nyondo did well to collect a cross from the right, but he really should have hit the target with his shot.

Vries would be tested for the first time as the hour mark approached when a Thabo Mosadi shot from distance forced him to turn the ball around his left hand post.

Mondli Cele, so impressive for United in recent weeks, had perhaps the best chance of the game on 67 minutes when he met a Mabaso cross from the right before sending the ball wayward.

But in pushing forward in search of a winner, United were sacrificing numbers at the back. It nearly cost them on 71 minutes, when Mabaso’s heroics in defence thwarted a four on one attack in favour of the visitors. At this stage Tuks were fancying a win themselves, and the match was set for an open, end-to-end finish.

As chances continued to fall to both sides, Thami Mkhize saw two efforts narrowly miss the top left corner within a couple of minutes, and it began to appear that Harry Gwala was not meant to see any goals on the night.

Vries was useful once more with just five minutes remaining when he launched himself to his right to keep out a Massa shot from distance, and a draw began to appear a fair result.

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