United back in the game

2011-11-02 00:00

PORT ELIZABETH — A brave and impressive defensive effort earned Maritzburg United a PSL point in last night’s 0-0 draw against Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium on a very windy city.

It did not take United long to realise that they were up against it when keeper Shu’Aib Walters was called into action as early as the 5th minute, making a fine save from a Thomas Sweswe shot, low and to his right.

Just two minutes later it was United’ right back, Rheece Evans who would put his side in the game, clearing a ball played into George Lebese, who was in a dangerous position, from Sipiwe Tshabalala.

United began to get into the game and midfielder Prince Olomu found himself in a promising position, but his effort was blocked by Sweswe in the ninth minute.

Chiefs always looked like the side more capable of scoring though and in the 23rd minute it was Evans to the rescue once more.

The defender executed a brave sliding challenge to deny in-form Chiefs midfielder, Lucky Baloyi, a clear shot a goal after more impressive build-up play by Tshabalala.

With the first period drawing near a close, Chiefs piled on more pressure. Tshabalala saw his pile-driving shot heroically blocked by United centre back, Mor Diouf, in the 39th minute and just two minutes later Bafana Bafana’s vice-captain was denied by Walters, who was quick to come of his line and collect the ball.

Tshabalala and the Chiefs fans in the stadium appealed for a penalty, but referee Daniel Bennett waved away the protest.

Baloyi was gifted the chance of the match when he was on the end of a cross from the left of the field on the stroke of half time. With Walters out of position, all Baloyi had to do was hit the target, but his misguided effort went back towards the face of goal into United’s Tshabang Matsuka.

The second half saw United enjoy a few attacking opportunities of their own. Winger Felix Obada was full of life and was a constant threat.

After a blistering run down the right flank, he gave Chiefs’ keeper Arthur Bartman his first work of the evening with a shot from an acute angle.

Ten minutes later, Obada turned from hero to villain.

With a three on two advantage, Obada ignored an unmarked Molomu in the centre of the 18-yard area to shoot high and to the right of goal.

United substitute Morne Davids should have scored with his first touch of the game. Obada, again the creator, played in a delightful ball that Davids ran onto at pace, but he was unable to keep his shot down.

Chiefs would continue to threaten and a largely uninfluential Bernard Parker would have glimpses at goal in the 66th and 78th minute — both competently dealt with by United’s defense.

As Vladimir Bernezovic’s men went in search of a winner, it was their final pass that would ultimately cost them the game.

“I think in the end we have to be satisfied with the points because Maritzburg created two good chances in the second half,” the Chiefs coach said.

United Ian Palmer praised his sides efforts. “It is never easy playing a ‘home’ game away from home, especially against a team of Chief’s quality,” he said.

“We made a few changes for the game, and the boys worked hard and put in a good performance.”

Palmer had dropped established right back Peter Petersen for the younger Matsuka in a move that saw Evans move to right back to curtail Tshabalala’s talent.

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