Maritzburg, Swallows settle for a draw

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It was a scintillating affair at Harry Gwala between two teams with contrasting fortunes in the Dstv Premiership.

Maritzburg United went to the changeroom with their tails up, as they threatened the Swallows defence with break attacks and set pieces.

The Birds managed to absorb the pressure  well with minimal chances of going forward as both Zephania Mbokoma and Kgaogelo Sekgotha struggled to break the last line of Maritzburg.

There was only one single shot on target, from Bongokuhle Hlongwane with the home team having six goal attempts, in the first stanza.

Swallows committed fouls in dangerous areas but Thabiso Kutumela could not capitalise on set pieces. The two sides went to half time goalless.

The match got to life four minutes into the  second half as Travis Graham found the back of the net after a good inter-play for Maritzburg United, in the final third.

Swallows coach Brandon Trutter made three quick substitutions to shake things up after going a goal down.

Musa Nyatama came in for Givemore Khuphe, Given Thibedi for Kamogelo Mahlatsi and Kagiso Malinga for Daniel Gazor.

The Birds responded almost immediately as both Thibedi and Nyatama combined in the middle of the park to provide with a defence splitting pass  to Malinga and found Sifiso Hlanti to equalize for Swallows FC, on the hour mark.

The Soweto outfit kept on threatening the Team of Choice defence, looking to take the lead for the first time in the match, but it was not to be.

Both coaches rang changes in search of the a goal with Hlongwane and Kutumela putting Swallows defence to the test, while Sekgotha, Malinga and Joseph Mhlongo kept on teasing Clayton Daniels and Nazeer Allie.

Nyatama almost won the match for Swallows when he took a long range shot after realizing that Engelhardt was off his line, but the veteran midfielder’s shot went over the bar.

With three minutes added time, it was an end-to-end action with Swallows the more dominant side, putting Maritzburg under immense pressure,  but the final touch let them down.

The result meant that Swallows drew their 16th match of the season and Maritzburg still languishing in the relegation zone.

By Wonga Sirayi

FARPost’s KZN Reporter

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