Thabo Rakhale had a few chances on goal, but was unable to find the back of the net for Chippa United against Maritzburg United. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Maritzburg United and Chippa United played out to a goalless draw in a hard-fought league encounter at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday night.

It was Eric Tinkler’s Chippa side who had the more frequent opportunities, although on the balance of play, the draw was just about a fair result between the two Premiership strugglers who are both hovering just above the relegation zone.

The opening stanza was a lively and evenly balanced affair, with both teams showing good attacking intent and enjoying reasonable chances in front of goal.

For Chippa, Thabo Rakhale had a sixth-minute snap shot go narrowly wide, before home keeper Richard Ofori saved comfortably from a Ruzaigh Gamildien effort and then also did well to deflect Rakhale’s 26th-minute cross away from the danger zone.

Maritzburg also had some promising moments on attack, but this translated only into a couple of speculative efforts on goal and some decent balls into the box which narrowly eluded their targets.

Gamildien was to enjoy the best opportunity of the first half eight minutes before the interval in the KZN Midlands when he was played in by Kurt Lentjies, but Ofori moved quickly off his line to make a sharp save.

The Team of Choice came out with renewed intent after halftime, but despite their efforts, Chippa keeper Daniel Akpeyi remained untested.

Again it was the Port Elizabeth side who were to have chances, Rakhale not far off with a half-volley in the 67th minute, before his goal-bound shot from close range four minutes later struck teammate Gamildien.

Maritzburg finally made some inroads into the Chilli Boys defence, with 15 minutes to play, as Fortune Makaringe combined nicely with Andrea Fileccia, but then fired his parting shot straight at Akpeyi.

Home coach Fadlu Davids saw his men piling the pressure on Chippa in the closing 10 minutes, but still the breakthrough eluded them as Fileccia shot wildly over the bar.

And then Mxolisi Kunene had an effort blocked, before Onyango went agonisingly close with a 90th-minute header, which proved to be the final chance of the night.

African News Agency (ANA)