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Pretoria - Maritzburg United had goalkeeper Shuiab Walters to thank as they beat the University of Pretoria 4-2 on penalties in a Nedbank Cup first-round clash at Tuks Stadium on Saturday night.
Walters saved Mame Niang's poorly taken attempt, before Thokozani Sekotlong hit the crossbar with a thunderous effort, leaving the hosts trailing by two, and they watched as the visitors netted four straight penalties.
Having played out to a goalless draw after 90 minutes, the match was extended by another half hour of additional time, but true to the dull tempo of the contest, penalties were needed to decide the winner.
Earlier, former AmaTuks striker Mthokozisi Yende came close to making a fairytale return to his former hunting ground, when he forced a brilliant save from Zimbabwean goalkeeper Washington Arubi.
With possession changing feet at regular intervals in the first half, the hosts had to work hard for a sniff at goal.
They had their best chance 10 minutes from the break, when tall striker Niang struck the crossbar with a well directed headed effort, but he couldn't find the opener for the 2009 runners-up.
The second half continued to disappoint with less than impressive displays in front of goal, as both sides struggled to find their rhythm.
The university outfit were left to rue a golden opportunity to break the deadlock 12 minutes from time, when Niang narrowly missed the target from close range, after Aubrey Ngoma made light work of his markers and passed a dangerous ball across the United goalmouth, though he failed to beat Walters.
Niang continued to trouble United's defence and could have sealed victory for the Pretoria side 10 minutes into extra time, but watched as his curled, left-footed effort sailed over the bar and out of danger.
Ngoma followed up Niang's effort with a free-kick from the same spot, but with the same result, as the scores refused to budge with six minutes remaining on the clock.
Having watched Tuks enjoy the majority of opportunities in the latter stages of the tie, Delron Buckley came within centimeters of clinching victory in the 118th minute, but once again Arubi was on hand to tip the ball over the crossbar and out for a corner.
If Buckley came close, Niang came even closer 30 seconds later, but he hit the upright and the result was decided by spot kicks. - Sapa