Champions held in season opener
Posted: 7 August 2009 Time: 22:29
Defending Absa Premiership champions SuperSport United were held to a 1-1 draw at Maritzburg United in the 2009/10 season opener on Friday night.
Morgan Gould had given the Tshwane team the lead at Woodburn Stadium, but Matsatsantsa were then outdone by their former player Noah Chivuta, who converted a penalty late in the first half.
However, SuperSport coach will be more concerned by the health of new signing Petrus Mahlatsi then the dropped points. The striker lasted just three minutes of his debut before being rushed to hospital after a clash of heads with Byron Hendricks.
SuperSport certainly had the better of the first half, looking the more threatening and cohesive side on attack, and also looking more assured in defence.
The visiting side had the first chance of the game in the fourth minute when Glen Salmon turned sharply in the box and beat keeper Brendan Wardle at the near post, only to see the ball strike the upright and bounce back into play.
Maritzburg struggled to find their rhythm throughout the first half, but came within a whisker of scoring in the 18th minute when Man of the Match Musa Nyatama’s glancing header from a corner-kick just missed finding the far post.
Six minutes later Wardle was again found wanting as Klate swung in a dangerous free-kick and Gould rose well to nod the ball into the unguarded net.
SuperSport should have been 2-0 ahead in the 26th minute when Nkosi delivered a free-kick into the box, but an unmarked Bongani Khumalo got his header all wrong.
Maritzburg had hardly troubled the United defence, but in the 40th minute striker Brice Aka did well to draw Gould into a foul just inside the box. The penalty was awarded and Chivuta held his nerve to pick out the bottom right-hand corner.
Maritzburg got the second half off to a flying start and could have gone ahead just seconds after the restart when Peter Petersen’s long throw in reached Obada, but the Nigerian miscued his close-range effort.
SuperSport put together a great team move in the 51st minute which resulted in the ball falling kindly for Hlompho Kekana, but he crashed the ball over the bar from 12-yards out.
More efforts then followed from Gordon Igesund’s side as Rudolf Bester fired straight at Dennis Onyango and Vito Badiane had a thunderous effort blocked by Gould.
The momentum stayed with Maritzburg for the remainder of the match as they created several more chances through the likes of Felix Obada, Chivuta and Kulelani Madondo, but none which troubled Onyango.