A stoppage time equaliser from Terrence Mandaza secured a point for Maritzburg United and denied Kaizer Chiefs a win on Friday night
Kaizer Chiefs remain unbeaten and on top of the PSL log but Terrence Mandaza secured a draw for Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday night with an important late goal in stoppage time
Played at the packed venue in Pietermaritzburg, the match was an electrifying affair, as both teams focused on positive and attack-minded football throughout the clash.
Chiefs started the game without the Simphiwe Tshabalala due to fatigue with Abia Nale filling in on the left wing. Their injury-list merely lenghtened during the game, which will concern coach Stuart Baxter, as Erick Mathoho was stretchered off in the 83rd minute with a disloacted shoulder.
Majoro opened Chief’s account in the 20th minute following a period of pressure by the Soweto giants. He looked dangerous throughout the fixture, creating space with his movement and instinctive goal scoring ability.
Maritzburg United did not give up and were able to turn their late pressure into a dramatic equaliser as Terrence Mandaza netted a superb header in the 97th minute, snatching the win away from the AmaKhosi.
The game looked to be open from the start as both sides began launching attacks, with Maritzburg focusing on using long balls aimed towards their target man Cuthbert Malajila.
Playing at a high tempo Chiefs looked sharper in the opening minutes and seemed destined to take the lead.
Majoro did not miss his chance on the second attempt when he opened Chiefs account in the 20th minute.
Following some enterprising play by the AmaKhosi, Reneilwe Letsholonyane placed a powerful header into the box, creating space for Majoro.
The striker latched onto Letsholonyane’s header and unleashed a left-footed first-time strike which easily beat Shu-Aib Walters. The ball nestled into the right-corner of the net and Chiefs were in the lead.
Maritzburg looked to hit back immediately but Chiefs were able to deny their initial efforts and still threaten with their pace on the counter-attack.
A horror tackle by Ryan de Jongh on goal-provider Letsholonyane in the 27th minute only resulted in a yellow card for the midfielder, but his two-footed sliding tackle left the crowd up-in-arms and sparked a clash of words between players on the pitch.
De Jongh was substituted in the 33rd minute, with Maritzburg coach Ernst Middendorp obviously nervous about the player’s temperament. De Jongh showed his disgust with the decision and was left fuming on the side of the pitch.
A second goal looked imminent for the dominant AmaKhosi, as Majoro continued to combine well with league top-scorer Bernard Parker.
The first half did not result in any more close chances, as both sides could not turn their possession into opportunity. Chiefs went into the break in the lead and with all the momentum.
The beginning of the second half echoed the first as the high tempo of the game continued. Both sides created half chances, but once again Chiefs looked like the sharper outfit.
Majoro should have made it two in the 58th minute, as Abia Nale sent in a powerful low cross which found the striker unmarked at the far post.
He collected the ball and tried to beat Shu-aib Walters with a close range strike but the Maritzburg United captain smothered the shot with his best save of the match.
Letsholonyane was denied his second assist of the evening in the 67th minute as he read the play well in the midfield with a crucial interception.
He then laced an accurate through ball into Bernard Parker’s path but the goal machine could not beat Walters with his right-footed strike.
Maritzburg United looked to apply more pressure deep into the second, as their inspirational captain had kept them in the game with two fine saves.
Erick Matoho joined Chief's long defensive injury list when he dislocated his shoulder in the 83rd minute after a heavy fall. Ithumeleng Khune also looked in pain at the end of the match after he cleared the ball with a jumping punch.In the increased stoppage time of seven minutes Maritzburg United continued to press for an equaliser and substitute Terrence Mandaza delivered in the final act of the game. Peter Pedersen distributed a long ball into the box and Mandaza climbed high sending in a well-timed looping header over the desperate grasp of Ithumeleng Khune.
The draw means Chiefs keep their unbeaten status and stay on top of the league, but the result will feel more like a win for Maritzburg United as they fought to the bitter end.