Orlando Pirates 0-0 Maritzburg United
7 May 2016
Despite their valiant efforts in Soweto, Maritzburg United had to settle for a settle for a 0-0 draw against Orlando Pirates on Saturday night.
United were the better side on the night, creating more chances on goal at the Orlando Stadium, but the failure to take their opportunities costs them two points in their relegation battle.
The first half was mostly a cagey affair, neither side able to create much threat in and around their opponents’ half.
Maritzburg started well, knocking the ball around nicely, a decent chance falling to Evans Rusike on seven minutes, but the Team of Choice striker was unable to curl his 18-yard shot in at the right hand post.
The Buccaneers had an opportunity on 17 minutes when Thamsanqa Gabuza got on the end of a cross from Amigo Memela, but his header flew well over the bar.
Gabuza was nearly on the score-sheet on 30 minutes when he went clean through on goal, but visiting keeper Virgil Vries did superbly to rush off his line to make the block.
Philani Zulu fired over for the KZN before half time, while at the other end, Vries saved comfortably from Tendai Ndoro’s long range shot.
The second half saw both sides looking more threatening in attack as the game opened up.
Gabuza should have done better in the 57th minute after being put through by Memela, but he blazed over the bar, while at the other end, a slick move by Maritzburg involving Sheldon van Wyk and Zulu saw Rusike shooting in the box, but his goal-bound shot was deflected away from goal by Thabo Matlaba.
Van Wyk was then denied by Pirates goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo before Maritzburg defender Brian Onyango header over the bar from just five yards out after a free kick 20 minutes from time.
The Team of Choice gave their all to try and grab the three points, but it was not to be as Rusike curled a shot inches wide in the 86th minute before Deolin Mekoa’s swerving effort went agonisingly close, while Thamsanqa Mkhize made a great run, only to sky his shot over the bar.
Pirates nearly sneaked a late win when a free kick fell to Gift Motupa in the box, but Thamsanqa Teyisa got in a toe to rescue the situation and the point.