Extra-time goal heartbreak for United

2011-10-22 00:00

IT was heartache for Maritzburg United at Athlone Stadium last night as a last-minute strike from Erwin Isaacs secured a 1-0 victory for Santos in the first round of the Telkom Knockout in Cape Town.

United started the match the brighter of the two sides and were the first team to threaten when winger Felix Obada found himself at the end of a Peter Petersen long throw only to hook his shot wide and to the left.

United’s dominance was short-lived, though, and the home side became more and more threatening as the half wore on.

Great chances for Santos striker Elezar Rodgers and midfielder Tawonga Chimodzi, either side of a David Booysen yellow card for a reckless challenge in the 13th minute, were unable to test Shu-Aib Walters in the United goal.

A vital tackle from United left back Rheece Evans prevented Santos’ Erwin Isaacs from getting a shot away at Walters in the 24th minute, and when winger Jurie Basie, Chimodzi and then Gert Barends all missed makeable shots from inside the area within two minutes, the pressure was firmly on the away side.

Walters was finally forced to make a save in the 38th minute when left midfielder Salmaan King was put through in aces of space. After aiming his shot for the top right corner he was brought to his knees in disbelief as Walters made an athletic diving save to his left.

An injury to United playmaker Kurt Lentjies forced coach Ian Palmer to replace the midfielder with five minutes left in the first period.

JB Ncubeni was brought on to play wide out right, while Diyo Sibisi moved to a more central position after starting on the left flank to accommodate the change.

Palmer would certainly have been the happier of the two managers to go into half-time at 0-0 after a half in which the home team did everything but score.

United came out in the second period a far more compact side, with chances few and far between at both ends.

Walters was called into action to make fine saves in the 59th and 61st minutes from Chimodzi and Rodgers.

An Isaacs free kick from just outside the United area tested the United shot-stopper once more in the 83rd minute, but Walters was up to the task once more and produced another acrobatic save.

With both sides seemingly content to take the tie to extra time and with practically all of the three added minutes played, Isaacs found himself one-on-one with Walters after the ball looped over the United defence.

The attacker made no mistake from an acute angle, burying the ball past an outstretched Walters, who would have been fuming at his defence after keeping his side in the game for so long.

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