BIRDS FIGHT BACK TO DENY MARITZBURG VICTORY
30 April 2021
Maritzburg United had to settle for a share of the spoils after a 1-1 DStv Premiership draw with Swallows FC at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday evening.
It was the hosts who had the more frequent chances on goal, but were forced to settle for a points after Travis Graham's opening goal, his first for the club, was cancelled out by Sifiso Hlanti.
Maritzburg had the better of the first half exchanges and had as many as six efforts on goal, although the majority were off target.
The first chance came after just a minute when Bongokuhle Hlongwane powered goalwards, before
giving the ball off to Thabiso Kutumela, who was not far off with a curling effort from 20-yards.
Kutumela also went close with a 20th minute free kick while Hlongwane slashed a shot marginally wide with a half-volley from the edge of the area.
Following a goalmouth scramble in the Swallows box three minutes before the break, Hlongwane turned and fired goalwards, but his shot went straight at Birds keeper Virgil Vries.
Four minutes after the break though and the Team of Choice had their breakthrough as Travis Graham won the ball in the middle of the park before combining with Tebogo Tlolane and Hlongwane and then scoring with a sublime shot from a tight angle.
The lead did however last very long - Swallows equalised on the hour mark when Zephaniah Mbokomo broke down the right and crossed for Sifiso Hlanti, who steered a first-time volley expertly into the net.
Maritzburg then came out looking for a second goal and had several chances, including one for Bandile Shandu, who just wasn't able to sort his feet out in front of goal after combining well with Hlongwane.
Kutumela also came close in the 73rd minute when he left his defender for dead and fired in a shot from a tight angle, which drew a sharp save by Vries with his feet.
The final 15 minutes saw both teams looking for a winner, but 1-1 it was destined to be as United take the point and move onto the next one - against Sundowns in Pretoria on May 5.
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