CAPE TOWN - Maritzburg United eased their relegation fears with a fortuitous 1-0 win over Stellenbosch FC in a DStv Premiership action at the Danie Craven Stadium on Tuesday.
In injury time, referee Abongile Tom awarded Maritzburg a dubious penalty after blowing up a player whose hands was behind his back in a goalmouth frenzy.
Maritzburg striker Thabiso Kutumela made no mistake from the 'spot' to salvage three valuable match points for the visitors.
There was every prospect of a Top 8 berth for Stellenbosch in the event of a victory. Instead, they will remain in 12th place on the latest standings and one point ahead of 13th-placed Maritzburg.
There was no shortage of goalscoring opportunities in a goalless first half and most of it were fashioned by Stellenbosch, who ironically enjoyed only 40% possession. By halftime, Stellenbosch had run up a 9-1 shots-on-goal count.
The problems in front of goal came about mainly because of poor option taking. Ashley du Preez, Stellenbosch's lone striker, was presented with a gilt-edged opportunity after lax defence by the Maritzburg. He headed a stray ball high over the bar when a gentle nod would have enough to beat Maritzburg keeper Marcel Engelhardt who would have had to make an instinctive save to avert danger.
Earlier, Nathan Sinkala, the Stellenbosch midfielder, also had a header opportunity but his effort flew high over the crossbar.
Close to halftime, a Maritzburg corner set the platform for a score, but midfielder Travis Graham narrowly missed the mark after a flick-on header by defender Clayton Daniels.