Maritzburg hold Usuthu to avoid play-off spot


Maritzburg United avoided the promotion/relegation play-offs in the DStv Premiership after playing to a goalless draw against AmaZulu in their final game of the season on Saturday afternoon.

United continued with Riyaaz Ismail and Bongokuhle Hlongwane from the loss to SuperSport United to Usuthu giving Neil Boshoff, Tsepo Masilela and Siphiwe Tshabalala a start.

A fiery opening saw both sides with chances through a volley from the edge of the area by Daylon Claasen for United and Lehlohonolo Majoro in from a probing delivery.

More opportunities for Usuthu came within 20 minutes through Andre De Jong from a ball over the top, but goalkeeper Marcel Engelhardt smothered.

Thabiso Kutumela looked to make things happen for United five minutes later from a corner-kick, but Ryan Rae nodded the supply wide of the mark.

Maritzburg had Usuthu once again on the edge deep in the closing stages with Hlongwane released to go clear on goal, but he couldn’t get the better of Boshoff.

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Kutumela was at the fore-front of another move by the host two minutes from the break as he robbed Butholezwe Ncube off possession to have a go, but Boshoff gathered.

AmaZulu piled threats of their own a little later with balls from Tshabalala and Andre De Jong, but it was nothing worth any trouble to goalkeeper Marcel Engelhardt.

Benni McCarthy added additional firepower from the bench towards the last 20 minutes with Bonginkosi Ntuli, Tapelo Xoki and Siyethemba Sithebe introduced.

There were chances for either outfit to grab the winner before time, but goalless was the final score as United end the campaign in 13th spot.

Confirmed line-ups:

Maritzburg: Engelhardt, Claasen, Ismail, Kutumela, Daniels, Tlolane, Rae, Allie, Graham,  Shandu, Hlongwane.

Subs: Mpandle, Stevic, Bhengu, Hlubi, Zuma, Ngwane, Morgan, Buthelezi, Zondi

AmaZulu: Boshoff, Mzava, Mgwazela, Masilela, Sikhakhane, Ncube, Mlambo, Mabiliso, Tshabalala, Majoro, De Jong.

Subs: Mzimela, Xoki, Khumalo, Sithebe, Maduna, Magubane, Chawapiwa, Ntuli, Zungu.