Score even in tough scrap

2009-11-26 00:00

IN a tough-pitched battle that, while marked by errors and poor passing, was nonetheless hard fought, Maritzburg United and Wits University could not get the better of each other in a 1-1 Premier Soccer League draw at Woodburn Stadium last night.

New United coach Ernst Middendorp’s first home game followed a fighting 3-2 away defeat to SuperSport United and again the PMB team showed plenty of spirit last night.

Wits counterpart Roger De Sa perhaps best summed up the game.

“It might not have been pretty but it was end -to-end stuff. When you’re playing so many games so close together, it’s not going to be pretty,” the coach said.

“Right now it’s about role-up-your sleeves-and-get-the-job-done.”

The game was in no way helped by some muddled officiating by inexperienced referee Victor Gomes and his officials, who got too many calls wrong to both sides. Gomes gave out 10 yellow cards, often for reasons that seemed hard to understand.

After a flat first quarter from Uni­ted, that saw Wits take the lead through winger Sifiso Myeni in the sixth minute, United fought back into the game and equalised via a Rudolf Bester strike in the 24th.

But the home team struggled to come to terms with Wits’s five-man midfield and lost out in the exchanges in the middle of the park. The second half was scrappy again, though saw more goal-mouth action.

United started nervously in defence and Wits had a good chance in the third minute when Thando Mngomeni slipped the ball through for Calvin Kadi, whose shot was wellsaved by United goalkeeper Tashrique Goldman, who had a po­lished game.

The United defence were caught again when Wits opened the scoring three minutes later, with Myeni left free to stroke the ball in from eight metres.

It took the home team 18 minutes to work their way back into the game, as they equalised in the 24th when Byron Hendricks’s long throw from the left was flicked on by Bheka Phakathi to Rudolf Bester, who was free at the far post and buried his finish.

Wits almost immediately went ahead again when Mngomeni’s ball, in from the left, was skied at pointblank range by Mark Haskins.

Fadlu Davids should have done better when he beat the Wits defence to a header that went wide. Just before the break, Kadi’s shot from the edge of the area was held by Goldman.

After a dull first half, the game became even looser in the second, though the action was at least intense and hard-fought.

United’s Noah Chivuta shot from the edge of the area was just wide. A minute later the home team should have taken the lead when Davids’s header from Chivuta’s corner struck the crossbar.

Goldman continued to impress as, in the 58th minute, he stopped Kadi’s shot at close range when the striker turned a ball in from Myeni at goal.

Near the end, Chivuta beat Justin Miller to burst into the box on the left. Goldman was up to the save from Myeni in the dying seconds.

Last night: Kaizer Chiefs 0 SuperSport United 2, AmaZulu 2 Platinum Stars 1, Bloemfontein Celtic 1 Santos 1, Moroka Swallows 1 Mpumalanga Black Aces 1, Maritzburg United 1 Wits University 1, Mamelodi Sundowns 2 Orlando Pirates 0, Ajax Cape Town 0 Free State Stars 0.

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