Kaizer Chiefs’ winless run in the league was extended to four matches after they were held to a 0-0 draw against Maritzburg United at a rainy Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday night.
Despite playing against 10 men for 75 minutes and enjoying the bulk of the play, a combination of some stubborn defending by the home side and some sub-standard finishing by Chiefs, see the pressure increasing on new coach Giovanni Solinas after picking up only two points in four league matches.
Maritzburg made a positive start to the evening and had a sniff at goal on seven minutes, but a heavy first touch by Bandile Shandu resulted in his shot from a tight angle missing the target.
The complexion of the game was, however, to turn on 15 minutes when a nasty over-the-top challenge by Siphesihle Ndlovu on Siyabonga Ngezana resulted in the Maritzburg midfielder being handed a straight red.
The hosts though could have taken the lead just a minute later when a slip in the Chiefs defence allowed Deolin Mekoa in, but he slashed a 20-yard effort wide of the target.
Amakhosi then began to get on top against the 10 men, but when chances came, Khama Billiat got the ball stuck under his feet with the goal at his mercy eight yards out, while Ekstein hit the outside of the bar with a 26th-minute snapshot.
More chances followed as Leonardo Castro’s bicycle kick was blocked by a defender and then Ekstein fired straight at Maritzburg keeper Richard Ofori, before.
After the beak, the Team of Choice continued to put in the work needed to keep a numerically advantaged Chiefs at bay, and it proved effective as the Soweto side battled to create openings.
Indeed it was only in the 71st minute when Amakhosi’s first chance of the second stanza arrived and it was a speculative long-range shot from Daniel Cardoso which veered wide of the mark.
Another opportunity followed eight minutes later when substitute Siphiwe Tshabalala brought out a smart stop from Ofori after a shot from inside the box.
There were a couple of late chances for the Glamour Boys, but Billiat’s curling shot dipped a bit too late to find the net, before a last-ditch intercept from Rushine de Reuck stopped Cardoso from scoring from close range in the 94th minute as the home side held on bravely for their first point of the season.
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