Absa Premiership

Pirates held to draw by Maritzburg United

2017-09-15 22:56
Thabo Matlaba (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The top-of-the-table Premiership clash between Maritzburg United and Orlando Pirates ended in a goalless draw at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Friday.

In a match of few chances, the hosts enjoyed the better openings with the visitors dominating possession.

Bernard Morrison and Ntsikelelo Nyauza did find the net for the Buccaneers, but their efforts were ruled out for offside and a foul on the goalkeeper.

The outstanding Siphesihle Ndlovu was dismissed late in the game after earning a second yellow card on 17-year-old debutant Lyle Foster.

Maritzburg began brightly and had a chance inside the first five minutes when a determined Ndlovu forced his way through on the left side of the box and shot into a defender.

At the other end, Thabo Qalinge had a decent penalty shout turned down in the ninth minute after appearing to be fouled in the box.

Ndlovu had a big chance in the 15th minute after he was played through clean by Evans Rusike, but after rounding goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands, the youngster saw his shot blocked by Happy Jele, who managed to scramble back after the strike was delayed.

Before the half hour, the enterprising Ndlovu crossed from the right and Bandile Shandu shot first time, but straight at Sandilands, who then had to throw himself full-stretch to his left as Rusike beat two players and kicked a shot towards the bottom corner.

Morrison slammed the back of the net, although his effort was ruled out for offside before Pirates' first big chance in the 40th minute.

Morrison swung over an inviting ball from the left that was met by Qalinge, with the ever-present Richard Ofori parrying away, before the rebound shot by Thamsanqa Gabuza was again blocked by the big goalkeeper.

Nyauza's strike that was ruled out for obstruction early in the second-half was the start of a period of dominance for Pirates as they took charge for the next half hour without really testing Ofori.

Lebohang Maboe finally had an opening for the home side in the 75th minute, which he struck just wide from 20 yards out.

Foster was introduced with six minutes to play, although his first involvement was a heavy challenge that came his way from Ndlovu, which earned the United man a red card as the game ended scoreless.


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