Match to forget for United

2012-11-21 00:00

THERE were moments of excitement, but last night’s 0-0 draw between Maritzburg United and SuperSport United at Harry Gwala stadium is likely to be one to forget for the Team of Choice after they played the majority of the second half against 10 men.

Ernst Middendorp was nowhere to be seen as he served his final touchline ban, but the Maritzburg coach showed an element of consistency by sticking to the same lineup that overpowered Golden Arrows in Durban last Saturday.

With Byrone Hendricks, Mohamed Awal and Mario Booysen marshalling a three-man central defence, Maritzburg easily countered a bright start by SuperSport in a first half that saw very little in the way of goal mouth action.

The Pretoria side, who have now drawn a remarkable nine out of 11 fixtures this season, appeared flat and lacked any initiative going forward. For them, it was a performance that gave reason to suggest exactly why this has been a season of underachievement so far.

United settled into the match easily and with Orlando Smeekes making some intelligent and dangerous runs, the home side were made to endure a fair amount of frustration as the Dutchman found himself on the wrong end of a few offsides calls in the opening stanza.

But on 27 minutes he got one right after Booysen had rifled a ball across field. With only SuperSport goalkeeper Ronwen Williams to beat, Smeekes could not control what was an extremely tough chance and his one-touch effort went straight to the keeper.

That move ignited a solid period of play for the home side and it appeared that they would have enough about them to record their first ever league win over SuperSport.

But the SuperSport defence was rigid itself, and as the half drew to a close Maritzburg were lucky not to fall behind — first defending a goal line scramble and then having the ball in the back of their own net only for SuperSport captain Thabo September to be declared offsides.

There was another heart in mouth moment for the hosts when playmaker Delron Buckley clashed nastily with September on the stroke of half time — a tackle that had some corners of Harry Gwala thinking that a red card would be shown.

But when referee Zolile Mthetho showed Buckley a yellow, the teams were deadlocked at the break.

The second half started with a bang and when Cuthbert Malajila pounced on an error by SuperSport centre back Edwin Gyimah, it appeared that he would be one-on-one with the goalkeeper. But the Ghanaian panicked and brought down Malajila, and as the last line of defence was shown a straight red card.

With over 40 minutes to play, the match was Maritzburg’s for the taking. In a move signifying their attacking intent, Maritzburg sacrificed Awal for Terrance Mandaza.

But Maritzburg lacked the composure and movement in the final third of the pitch to make use of their numerical advantage and, while they remained relatively comfortable at the back, they would have to wait until the last minutes of the match to make Williams work when holding midfielder Ruben Cloete set Mandaza up for a decent chance — his left-footed effort saved by a sprawled Williams.

SuperSport would come close through substitute Sibusiso Zuma, but in truth it was a lacklustre attacking performance from both sides.

Maritzburg assistant coach Fadlu Davids — who was manning the touchline in Middendorp’s absence — still seemed relatively satisfied with a point.

“I think it was a game of two halves. They probably had the better of the first half and then we came back strong in the second,” he said.

“We had a great chance to score at the end, but in the end I think a draw is probably a fair result.”

While fans may be disappointed with a draw given the circumstances, last night’s result was enough to move Maritzburg up to second on the PSL log, though Orlando Pirates will occupy that spot if they get anything out of their matchup with Black Leopards tonight.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.