Maritzburg deny Dikwena victory

Platinum Stars and Maritzburg United played to a 1-1 draw in their Absa Premiership match at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Sunday afternoon, with neither side able to assert themselves and end the year 2015 on a high.

Vuyo Mere put Dikwena ahead late on and they looked on course to return to winning form, but the Team of Choice struck back just before the end of regulation time through Brian Onyango to ensure they were spared a ninth defeat in the space of 12 matches.

After a quiet opening quarter of the match – with the players clearly pacing themselves in the fierce afternoon heat – Stars nearly claimed the lead in the 23rd minute through Tintswalo Tshabalala, who saw his free kick deflected just wide of the target.

Just over 10 minutes later Dikwena created the best chance of the half when a long ball over the top of the defence put Bongi Ntuli in on goal but the striker was unable to beat goalkeeper Tawfeeq Salie, who did well to come quickly off his line and close the angle.

On 41 minutes Maritzburg left-back Philani Zulu provided a wonderful piece of skill to wrong-foot Vuyo Mere before delivering a peach of a cross to an unmarked Mohamed Anas in the middle of the box, but the Ghanaian striker wasted the chance by heading over the crossbar.

In injury time before the interval, Khulegani Madondo had a great chance to break the deadlock when and out-of-position Salie was unable to clear the ball convincingly, but the midfielder put a looping header wide of Maritzburg’s unguarded posts.

Stars bossed most of the second half, but found scoring chance hard to come by. Maritzburg saw less of the ball, but they were the first to really threaten a goal after the break, with Kurt Lentjies firing a fine shot on target direct from a free kick in the 70th minute, but Bouna Coundoul was on hand to make a fine save.

The match looked destined to be a goalless stalemate, but with 13 minutes of regulation time remaining Dikwena claimed the lead through Vuyo Mere, who passed the ball into the corner of the net after a great build-up which saw Ndumiso Mabena register an assist with a deft back-heel into the goal scorer’s path.

Maritzburg hit back 11 minutes later to earn a share of the spoils, with Brian Onyango scoring with a fine header to make it 1-1. The Ugandan defender got on the end of an excellent free kick delivery from Lentjies.

Platinum Stars (0) 1 (Mere 77’)
Maritzburg United (0) 1 (Onyango 88’)

Stars: Coundoul, Mere, Gumede, Nhlapo, Tshabalala, Nyanda (Kodisang 72’), N’gambi, Madondo, Msomi, Rodgers (Mabena 59’), Ntuli (Madubanuya 85’)

Maritzburg: Salie, Mkhize (Mokate 80’), Teyise (Hartog 61’), Onyango, P. Zulu, Lentjies, Booysen, Mngonyama, D. Mekoa, Rusike, Anas (Nene 46’)