Maritzburg and Chiefs draw

The goals were scored by Knowledge Musona for Chiefs and Rudolph Bester for United

The Amakhosi’s free-flowing style of play certainly asked a few questions of the home team’s defence early on, especially down the right flank where Chiefs’ Jimmy Tau and Mandla Masango combined to orchestrate a few probing raids.

Chiefs’ striker Knowledge Musona got onto the end of a Tau cross in the eighth minute but the Zimbabwean was unable to generate enough power with his header to trouble Shu-Aib Walters in United’s goals.

A minute later Musona, Masango and Siphiwe Tshabalala worked in tandem to produce a move that progressed into United’s danger area but Tshabalala sent his attempt high over the crossbar.

Masango had only Walters to beat in the 17th minute. Instead he directed a low drive at the keeper’s body.

Chiefs’ relentless pressure eventually took its toll near the half-hour mark when Musona was able to divert Tau’s strike on goal beyond a flat-footed Walters.

The visitors were not prepared to sit back on their small advantage and pressed for more openings. Tshabalala surged powerfully into the visitor’s penalty area a short while later and unleashed a scorching drive which Walters kept out with the help of David Booysens, who was positioned on the goal line.

Five minutes from the interval, Chiefs had another attempt cleared off the line. Masango drilled an effort which Walters parried into the path of lanky midfielder Mthokozisi Yende who responded by heading powerfully towards United goal – on this occasion defender John Aruwah was on hand to prevent the ball from crossing the whitewash.

However, United sprung to life near injury time and had two great chances to claw their way back into the contest. First Kurt Lentjies struck the visitors crossbar with a blistering strike from distance.

Soon thereafter, Booysens watched in dismay as his header from a Lentjies free-kick crashed onto the Chiefs upright; striker Rudolf Bester who was following up was unable to hit the target with his close range header.

The second half failed to reach the same intensity as the first. With just a goal separating the teams, United became more adventurous. Itumeleng Khune, Chiefs’ keeper, was eventually called into action in the 70th when he had to keep out Mor Diouf’s long-range free kick.

United leveled matters when an unmarked Rudolf Bester tapped in a long punt from Lentjies, three minutes later. The home team grew in confidence and went in search of all the points on offer.

Their best chance to claim the win came with six minutes from time when Musa Nyatama pulled clear of the his markers and flashed a drive which Khune kept out by getting his body behind the ball; Diyiso Sibisi collected the loose ball but failed to hit the target either.

In the end a share of the spoils is just reward for the efforts of both teams in this encounter.