Erick Mathoho's first goal for Kaizer Chiefs sealed a draw for the league leaders, who had to show their mettle against a toughened Maritzburg United outfit
A frenetic and physical display which resulted in seven bookings, finally saw the opener for Maritzburg United early in the second half, as Mario Booysen finished from close range after Delron Buckley sent in a dangerous ball which was handled poorly by Kaizer Chief’s defenders.
Chiefs showed their fighting qualities and hit back in the 69th minute via a powerful header from Erick Mathoho, who beat Shu-Aib Walters from just inside the area.
Neither side could add to the scoreline as the match ended in an intruguing and dramatic stalemate, which keeps Kaizer Chiefs on top of the PSL standings.
Kaizer Chiefs was aiming to extend their lead over rivals Orlando Pirates in the PSL title race to seven points. They faced a Maritzburg United side which has seen a major dip in form in the second half of the season and has slipped to 7th on the log.
The Team of Choice created the first chance of the match eight minutes in when Dillon Sheppard sent in an accurate ball to find the head of Cuthbert Malajiila, but the club’s top scorer sent his header into the stands.
The early minutes turned into an end-to-end battle as both teams looked to utilise their attacking talent, with Maritzburg coming close once more when Ruben Cloete tested Ithumeleng Khune with a powerful drive in the 18th minute.
Khune was up for the task with an acrobatic save, keeping Chiefs on level terms when a goal for the visitors seemed inevitable.
After the rip-roaring start to the encounter, the game settled as Chiefs began to find control over possession. But Maritzburg’s attacking threat did not diminish, as the combination of Sheppard and Malajiila almost paid dividends on the 32 minute mark, but the winger’s cross could not be turned on target by the striker.
The feisty encounter’s first half ended 0-0 despite a host of attempts from both sides, with Chiefs put under pressure due to the Team of Choice’s tactical display.
Maritzburg deservingly found the back of the net in the 48th minute when a Delron Buckley free-kick was poorly handled by Chief’s defense, as the ball rebounded off Keagan Ritchie and Morgan Gould, who scrambled on the line only for Mario Booysen to stab home from close range.
The opener was not deemed to be an own goal, even though Gould’s touch on the ball had seen it cross the line.
Chiefs stepped into gear and began to search for the equaliser immediately, but could only fashion their first clear-cut chance when substitute Lehlohonolo Majoro failed to find the target at the near post after receiving a low cross from Bernard Parker.
But the AmaKhosi could not be denied when Erick Mathoho scored his first goal for the club, with a towering looping header which dipped over a sprawling Walters to hit the back of the net with 69 minutes on the clock.
With both sides searching for the winner the final fifteen minutes of the game saw a thunderous drive from William Katsande go wide and a torrential downpour in Polokwane, merely adding to the drama of the night.
Chiefs and Maritzburg United launched a myriad attacks in the final minutes of the game, but neither side could find a winner despite their best efforts, as the match ended 1-1.