PIETERMARITZBURG – Cape Town City salvaged a late point when Masud Juma fired home a 91st-minute equaliser in a 1-1 league draw with Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday night.
On the balance of play, the draw was not an unfair result, but home coach Fadlu Davids would have been disappointed that his side had closed out the game after Andrea Fileccia had given his team a 28th-minute lead.
The KZN side started strongly and it took a superb close-range reflex save from Citizens keeper Sage Stephens to stop Pogiso Sanoka steering home a Deolin Mekoa free kick in the ninth minute.
At the other end, former Maritzburg defender Thamsanqa Mkhize came close to putting the Cape side in front when his 26th-minute header flashed just over the bar.
Two minutes later and the visitors found themselves 1-0 down when a kind of move that had become Maritzburg’s trademark this season – a lightning quick and incisive move, saw Andrea Fileccia converting at the back post after some brilliant play by Fortune Makaringe.
There was some work for home keeper Richard Ofori to do when he kept out a shot from Roland Putsche.
But it was in the City box that most of the action for the remainder of the first half took place as Mekoa tested Stephens from the edge of the area, Bandile Shandu fired over the bar and Mekoa had a free kick saved.
Maritzburg remained on top after the interval and it took the introduction of City substitute Juma to give the visitors some teeth on attack.
The Kenyan quickly got in on the action but fluffed a great chance when he fired straight at Richard Ofori with 22 minutes to go, before firing another more difficult chance wide of the target.
While the Team of Choice always looked a threat on the counter attack for a second goal, the Cape side continued to press for an equaliser.
They were desperately unlucky not to score when the outstanding Craig Martin’s 76th-minute header struck the post.
United were then given further chances to seal victory, but Mohau Mokate failed to get a decisive touch right on the line, before Lebohang Maboe skied a shot from a good position on the edge of the box.
Those misses came back to haunt Maritzburg as City equalised added time after Juma reacted sharply to rifle home a volley from 14-yards out – his first goal for the club – after Martin’s free kick had rebounded off the defensive wall.
African News Agency (ANA)