21 December 2008

Mathibe stands in United's way

A match-winning performance by Thanda Royal Zulu goal keeper Aubrey Mathibe resulted in the Team of Choice losing a KZN derby at the Woodburn Stadium on Sunday.

The first chance of the match saw Bernard Parker drawing a good save out of United keeper Hunter Gilstrap.

In the 14th minute Tony Tsabedze looked to put United ahead, but his 20 yard attempt was off target.

Maritzburg then took charge of the game in the middle of the park, dominating all facets of play.

But when they were able to penetrate the Thanda defence, they found goal keeper Mathibe to be in outstanding form.

The former Swallows shot stopper denied Sipho Mngomezulu on two occasions, as well as Oscar Mathebula, in the pace of a few minutes.

At he other end of the field Parker remained a constant threat, but the United defence did well to keep him off the score-sheet.

The onset of the second half saw United upping their efforts as they again took control if the game, but were not able to make the breakthrough, despite the efforts of Lynch Puyle and Brice Aka.

Peter Petersen then came within inches of giving Maritzburg what would have been a more than a deserved lead, but he was denied at the last second by another fine Mathibe save.

It would be fair to say that until the hour mark there had only been one team in the game as Maritzburg dominated proceedings, yet unkindly for the Team of Choice it was Thanda who took the lead after 63 minutes when Obada scored from close range after a cross by Bongani Mbhele.

United however showed character to pick themselves up after the cruel blow and came close to equalising in the 79th minute when Sam Ndlovu's superb shot from 25 yards looked to be sailing into the net, only for Mathibe to pull off another fine save.

The keeper was at it again six minutes later when he pulled off another great save from a John Aruwah shot.

Against the run of play, Nkosinathi Nhleko doubled Thanda'slead with a well struck shot just before the final whistle.

The score-line was unfair on United, who put up andexcellent display, but just found Mathibe to be in unbeatable form on the day.


United: Gilstrap; Dikilu, Mathebula, Ngwepe, Petersen, Tsabedze (Khanye 57'), Aka, Aruwah, Mngomezulu, Pule (Ndlovu 69'), Bucuane (Davids 60')

Thanda: Mathibe; Madidilani, Muhammed, Chabalala, Leshabane, Obada (Loke 93'), Mahlangu, Nyatama, Mazibuko (Nhleko 73'), Mbhele (Motale 91'), Parker