Durban — Sekhukhune United did just about enough to move back into the top eight after being held to a 1-1 draw by Maritzburg United at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg.
Rodrick Kabwe gave Sekhukhune the lead in the first minute with a long-range shot, sensing that Maritzburg United goalie Marcel Engelhardt would find it difficult to read the ball due to the wet conditions.
In what will be embarrassing for Engelhardt, the ball embarrassingly rolled under his hands and straight into the net. His howler was somewhat similar to the infamous one committed by former England goalkeeper Robert Green in his team’s 1-1 draw with the United States during the 2010 World Cup group stage games.
Keegan Ritchie looked to attack for Maritzburg throughout the first half and it was hardly surprising that he also ended up scoring his first goal for the club and equalizing on the stroke of half-time. Ritchie struck a cracker from range and was assisted by Friday Samu who has been a revelation for the Team of Choice since his arrival in January.
After going behind, the Team of Choice soon had some half-chances to get an equalizer, only to be denied by in-form Sekhukhune keeper Toaster Nsabata. Tawanda Macheke first struck a shot straight to Nsabata before Ritchie cut-in and unleashed a powerful right-footed shot, forcing an attractive reflex save from Zambian international Nsabata.
Engelhardt owned up for his first half howler in the 55th minute as Kabwe again looked to test him from range, this time from a free-kick. The German showed good composure and reflexes to this time parry away a testing ball from Kabwe.
Just over ten minutes later, Justin Shonga tested Engelhardt but the keeper was once again on point, showing confidence yet again despite his error early in the game.
Overall, Maritzburg will be the happier side based on the outcome. The point for Ernst Middendorp’s side will be vital as they look to push further away from the relegation zone. Though things were somewhat even in the first half, Sekhukhune had more chances in the second half and may be frustrated that they did not score. Three points for Sekhukhune could have been a big confidence boost given that they have won just one out of their last ten games.
Both teams will next be in action after the international break on Saturday 2 April. Maritzburg will play against Swallows at the Harry Gwala Stadium while Sekhukhune travel to the Western Cape to play against Stellenbosch FC at the Danie Craven Stadium.