Maritzburg deny Chiefs ten wins on the trot
Kaizer Chiefs were denied their 10th league victory in a row by Maritzburg United in a 2-2 draw in the Absa Premiership match at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Tuesday night.
The leaders came to this encounter with nine wins on the trot but they had to come back from behind twice to snatch a point at the ground where they haven’t won in four visits now. Tefo Mashamaite scored in the 80th minute to save Kaizer Chiefs from blushes after United went to the half-time break with the lead in a first half that had three goals to show.
A draw leaves Kaizer Chiefs on the summit of the table with 40 points after 18 matches and nine points over second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns who have played two games less. Maritzburg United are now on 13th place with 17 points from seventeen matches and four points from relegation zone.
Maritzburg United coach Steve Komphela was without the services of big Ghanaian defender Mohamed Awal due to suspension and in came David Booysen to partner experienced Mario Booysen at the centre of the defence.
Kaizer Chiefs left back problems continued when coach Stuart Baxter had no choice but to field young centre-back Lorenzo Godinho out of position in the left-back as his first choice Tshepo Masilela is out injured and cover Kgotso Moleko was out suspended.
The match started the best possible way when Ryan de Jongh unleashed a 30-yards piledriver that beat Itumeleng Khune at full stretch and in of the post barely two minutes into the match, 1-0. Kaizer Chiefs won a free-kick in the dangerous area three minutes later but Siphiwe Tshabalala hit the wall before they put the score on level terms in the 6th minute and capitalising from an error by the ‘keeper.
Maritzburg United goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters failed to deal completely with Siphiwe Tshabalala long range shot when he thought he pushed the ball over but it came off the crossbar and came back to play with Kingston Nkhatha sweeping in from close range to bring the visitors on level terms, 1-1.
The visitors were not sitting back, and they almost took the lead in the 14th minute when a counter-attack saw Kingston Nkhatha beat the offside trap but the Zimbabwean shot straight at Shu-Aib Walters from tight angle, before the goalkeeper made a great save to deny Siboniso Gaxa from close range after the Kaizer Chiefs full-back stole the ball from United defender after 19 minutes.
The home side scared Amakhosi when on loan from Bidvest Wits winger Bongolwethu Jayiya curled the ball from the edge of the area but his effort sailed just narrowly over the bar in the 29th minute, before Sha-Aib Walters had to be alert at the other end to stop Siphiwe Tshabalala’ long range shot two minutes later.
The Team of Choice were rewarded a chance to get back in front when Lorenzo Gordinho brought down Kurt Lentjies inside the area in the 34th minute. Bongolwethu Jayiya stepped up and shot past Itumeleng Khune’s on his right, 2-1.
The home side almost went to the half-time with two goal cushion but Itumeleng Khune made a superb save when he tipped over Mario Booysen’s glancing header three minutes before the break. The visitors squandered a chance to get level in the stroke of half time when Tefo Mashamaite volleyed wide of the mark from Siphiwe Tshabalala’s corner-kick as United took their lead to the interval.
Kaizer Chiefs came out dangerous from the dressing rooms, and they almost scored the equaliser when Erick Mathoho rose the highest in the box before his towering header was pushed out for a corner-kick by Shu-Aib Walters ten minutes from the restart.
Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter made two attacking changes when he brought George Lebese and new striker at the club Katlego Mphela in the place of Knowledge Musona and Kingston Nkatha after 65 minutes as he searched for the equaliser.
Barnard Parker tried his luck from range but shot straight at Shu-Aib Walters in the 75th minutes, before they finally scored the equalised ten minutes from time. Tefo Mashamaite connected with Barnard Parker’s delivery and headed past out of the lineShu-Aib Walters.
Two minutes later Katlego Mphela almost scored in his debut when he got to the end of Siphiwe Tshabalala’ through pass but the former Mamelodi Sundowns striker shot just wide of the right hand post. Kaizer Chiefs tried to push on for the winner but Maritzburg United defended well but it will be a point earned away from home for Amakhosi.
Maritzburg United: Walters, Evans, Booysen, M. Booysen, Cloete, Jayiya, Morton ©, De Jough, Lentjies ( Nkosi 74’), Sekotlong (Buckley 70’), Isaacks (Mkhize 83’)
Kaizer Chiefs: Khune ©, Gaxa, Gordinho, Mashamaite, Mathoho, Katsande, Musona ( Lebese 65’) Tshabalala, Letsholonyane, Nkhatha ( Mphela 65’) , Parker,