Maritzburg United defender Bevan Fransman hit the crossbar with a header in the first half against Wits. Photo: Steve Haag/BackpagePix

PIETERMARITZBURG – Bidvest Wits’ woeful start to their Absa Premiership title defence continued on Saturday when they shared the spoils against struggling Maritzburg United side at the Harry Gwala Stadium. 

The two sides couldn’t bring the heat and played out to a boring 0-0 draw in very cold weather conditions. Wits have already lost six matches, drew on three occasions and registered only two victories this season. 

Gavin Hunt has refused to throw in the towel in their title defence, but it will be a mountain to climb for Wits if they want to retain their title. 

They lacked aggression, urgency and creativity in their match against Maritzburg. 

Wits’ next assignment is their Telkom Knockout final against Bloemfontein Celtic at Princess Magogo Stadium on Saturday in KwaMashu, which is a game they have to win if they are to regain some confidence.

Both coaches made changes to their teams that played midweek league matches. 

Hunt made five changes to the team that lost 2-0 against Mamelodi Sundowns at home. 

Reece Frosler made way for Nazeer Allie, Steven Pienaar took the place of Xola Mlambo, Gerald Phiri started in the place of Puleng Tlhone and Amr Gamal was sacrificed for Eleazar Rodgers. 

Thulani Hlatshwayo made his comeback after missing out in the last couple of matches because of an injury. 

Fadlu Davids, on the other hand, made two changes. Lebo Maboe and Fortune Makaringe started on the bench as Bandile Shandu and Yazid Atouba took their place in the starting line-up. 

Maritzburg United enjoyed a good first half, with Evans Rusike causing a lot of trouble for Wits defence.

Bevan Fransman was unlucky to hit the post after his well-timed header hit the crossbar and was cleared by Phumlani Ntshangase. 

Apart from that opportunity, there wasn’t much to write about.

Deolin Mekoa nearly put the Team of Choice ahead in the second half, but Darren Keet made a telling save to deny the left-footer. 

In an attempt to break the deadlock, Davids and Hunt made changes. 

Pienaar failed to make a game-changing impact, and it didn’t come as a surprise when he was sacrificed later, with Vincent Pule taking his place after 65 minutes.

Another veteran in Daine Klate was taken off, with Daylon Claasen coming on in the 77th minute.

Maritzburg haven’t won a game since August 23 against Ajax Cape Town at home. They have now played 10 matches without a victory. 

IOL Sport