Maritzburg United climb the log

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Johannesburg - Maritzburg United climbed to third in the Premiership despite being held to a goalless draw by 10-man SuperSport United at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday night.

In a match of few chances, the hosts came closest to winning the game in stoppage time when substitute Terrance Mandaza had his shot blocked by the feet of visiting goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.

Matsatsantsa had Ghanaian midfielder Edwin Gyimah contentiously dismissed after 47 minutes when he pulled back Cuthbert Malajila on the halfway line, but Gavin Hunt’s men held on for their ninth draw in 11 matches this season to move to 10th.

The home team were almost gifted an early lead when Williams fumbled a routine long ball into the box, but the visiting goalkeeper escaped when Malajila was caught off-side.

Moments later Delron Buckley’s snap-shot attempt was deflected away for a corner kick.

Midway through the half, Orlando Smeekes and Thabang Matuka combined beautifully, but the latter’s cross was too high for Malajila.

Just before the half-hour mark, Smeekes had the best opportunity of the match when he managed to beat the off-side trap, but his side-footed attempt from 12 metres out was straight at Williams.

Failure to find the net SuperSport resorted to long-range attempts and one of those from Gyimah fizzed past the right upright.

United again came close when Bevan Fransman’s header was scrambled away off the line after a Franklin Cale corner.

After a goalless first-half the home side came out firing and a powerful run and cross from Smeekes down the right caught the visitors by surprise, but the forward’s cross was too powerful for late arrival Malajila.

Gyimah was then dismissed by referee Zolile Mthetho after his pull-back on Malajila with the hosts failing to make the most of their numerical advantage in the immediate aftermath.

Michael Morton’s rising effort followed by a dipping Buckley shot did draw applause from the crowd just after the hour mark.

With time running out, Sibusiso Zuma curled centimetres wide from a 25m free-kick, before the Team of Choice almost stole it at the death when Ruben Cloete’s cross was connected first-time by Mandaza only to be blocked by Williams. - Sapa

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