United keep the fans spellbound

2012-10-22 00:00

WHILE the relentless rain this weekend dashed the Dolphins’ hopes at the Pietermaritzburg Oval once again, it contributed to an epic game of football for Maritzburg United up the road at Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday night.

In football there are few things as dramatic as a penalty shootout. And on Saturday — while a storm of biblical proportions was brewing in the Pietermaritzburg sky — United sent their home fans delirious as they triumphed over the more fancied Moroka Swallows after 120 minutes of football had failed to produce a goal.

It was a titanic struggle that kept the crowd completely undecided right up until the last kick of the ball as to who would advance to the tournament’s quarter-finals. But like the crowd, the weather couldn’t make up its mind either.

It rained hard, then drizzled, then cleared. And by the time the shootout started there was thunder and lightning, and then it poured.

The hero on the night, as is the case in most penalty shootouts, was the goalkeeper. But, more importantly, it was Maritzburg United goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters. It was his save from former United star Felix Obada (now with Swallows) that swung things United’s way.

“I’m still pretty tired. It was a draining game mentally, physically and emotionally,” the club’s captain told The Witness yesterday.

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