MARITZBURG UNITED GO DOWN FIGHTING TO KAIZER CHIEFS
10 February 2023
Maritzburg United managed to take Kaizer Chiefs to extra time in Friday night's Nedbank Cup last 32 encounter before being beaten 2-0 in front of a full house at the Harry Gwala Stadium.
In a thrilling 120 minutes, the home side played much of the match with 10 men after a first half sending off.
Amakhosi had the opening chances, although there were only a couple of routine saves for Maritzburg keeper King Ndlovu to make in the first 30 minutes.
The Team of Choice were close to going in front 10 minutes before the break when Jose Meza jinked inside and unleashed a swerving effort which drew a diving save from Chiefs keeper Brandon Petersen.
At the other end, Karim Kimvuidi was not far off with an audacious lob before Ndlovu made a very good save to keeping out Ashley du Preez's curling effort.
In the meantime Maritzburg had been reduced to 10 men after Travis Graham picked up a second yellow card and was sent off after 37 minutes.
Ndlovu was called into action two minutes after the restart when he pulled off another excellent save to frustrate du Preez again.
To the Team of Choice's credit, they defended with a steely determination and showed great courage as they played their way back into the game with some chances of their own.
Substitute Rowan Human was at the forefront for United and he drew an incredible reflex save from Petersen with a rasping drive in the 70th minute which had seemed goalbound.
Some outstanding focussed and committed defending from the Pietermaritzburg side saw the hosts able to make it through to the end of regulation time.
It took however just a couple of minutes of extra time for the Soweto team to break the deadlock as Christian Saile bundled the ball over the line after Ndlovu had been unable to deal with Aitha Kwinika's looped header.
The Team of Choice were cruelly denied an equaliser in the 110th minute after Amadou Soukouna picked a pass out of the sky before hitting the base of the post with a low shot from the edge of the area.
Instead, du Preez rubbed salt into a spirited Maritzburg side's wounds when he sidefooted home Happy Mashiane's cross.
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