Maritzburg secure a point at Sekhukhune


Sekhukhune United reclaimed eighth on the DStv Premiership standings despite playing to a 1-1 draw with Maritzburg United on Wednesday evening.

Sekhukhune recalled Chibuike Ohizu to partner with Evans Rusike upfront from their loss against Cape Town City while Maritzburg made three changes from the win over Mamelodi Sundowns, as they brought back Lucky Baloyi, Steven Pereira and gave Genino Palace his first start.

MacDonald Makhubedu's charges had a dream start after Roderick Kabwe fancied his chances in a slippery surface with a diagonal strike from range that sailed through the legs of goalkeeper Marcel Engelhardt.

The Team of Choice were subdued deep in their own half for the majority of the first stanza but were dangerous on counter-attacks, as Keegan Ritchie snatched the equaliser just before the break with a stunning strike that found the bottom corner.

With Sekhukhune pressurising Maritzburg in the early stages of the second stanza, Kabwe came close to restoring the hosts' lead just before the hour-mark with a free-kick that was uncomfortably parried away by Engelhardt.

Babina Noko thought they had finally restored their lead a couple of minutes later after Ohizu found the back of the net with a looped volley over Engelhardt at the back post but the goal was disallowed for offside.

Ernst Middendorp's men were absorbing the pressure in the latter stages and they made a double change in the last eight minutes to stabilize the team, as Ryan Rae replaced Daylon Claasen in a defensive move and Tumelo Njoti came on for Tawanda Macheke for fresh legs upfront. 

Ritchie almost snatched the winner for the Team of Choice with a deflected free-kick that missed the bottom corner by a whisker, as the sides shared the spoils in the end.

As a result, Sekhukhune went up to eighth on the log while Maritzburg steered five points clear of the relegation zone in 12th spot on the log.

Confirmed line-ups:

Sekhukhune: Nsabata, Mobbie, Kabwe, Motsepe, Gyimah, Maart, Katsande, Kobela, Patjie, Ohizu, Rusike

Subs: Kapini, Ledwaba, Chabalala, Jampies, Parusnath, Maondsela, Mncube, Mashumba, Shonga

Maritzburg: Engelhardt, Daniels, Allie, Baloyi, Palace, Lukhubeni, Ritchie, Claasen, Pereira, Samu, Macheke.

Subs: Petersen, Human, Bhengu, Ismail, Theron, Njoti, Rae, Kewuti