Team of Choice fight to the death
20 April 2016
Maritzburg United showed great courage to come back from a goal and a man down to earn a 1-1 draw away to Golden Arrows on Wednesday night.
The Team of Choice played for 50 minutes with only 10 men after the sending off Deolin Mekoa just before half time, also having to survive a physical onslaught from Arrows, Kurt Lentjies in particular finding himself on the end of a series of overly robust challenges.
Arrows took the lead on 16 minutes, Nkanyiso Cele netting from the spot after Tawfeeq Salie had brought down Nduduzo Sibiya inside the box.
That however was the only chance the home side were to have as Maritzburg dominated proceedings.
But United were unable to beat Arrows keeper Maximilian Mbaeva, who did well to save Thamsanqa Teyise flicked on from a free kick five mimutes before the break.
Maritzburg coach Ernst Middendorp made two changes for the the second half, bringing on Pogiso Sanoka and Sheldon van Wyk for Bandile Shandu and Mohau Mokate.
The Team of Choice continued to fight for an equaliser and came close in the 56th minute when Brian Onyango’s header struck the cross-bar.
Despite having just 10 men, Marirzburg continued to look the side more likely to score, showing huge reserves of character and energy, as typified by captain Lentjies’ bravery.
It was Lentjies who deservedly got United’s equaliser, on 71 minutes, scoring with a precise low shot in off the far post, from out on the right hand flank. Evans Rusike provided the assist.
The Team of Choice battled right to the end for the three points, but just could not find a way past a stubborn Abafana bes’Thende defence.
Arrows: Mbaeva, Katjiukua, Sikhakhane, Mathiane, S Dube, Hlongwane (Mhango 69’), N Cele, Shitolo, Sibiya (Molefe 63’), Ramagalela, Sibeko (Ngcobo 75’)
Maritzburg: Salie, Mngonyama, Mogapi, Onyango, P Zulu, Teyise, Shandu (Sanoka 46’), Mokate (van Wyk 46’), D Mekoa, Lentjies, Rusike