Chiefs held by 10-man Maritzburg to stretch winless start to four league matches
A stubborn 10-man Maritzburg United held out gallantly against Kaizer Chiefs to earn their first point of the season in a goalless draw at a packed Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday night after Siphesihle Ndlovu got himself sent off early in the first half.
In the cold and the rain, Maritzburg were on the back foot from the first 15 minutes when Ndlovu was sent off by young referee Luxolo Badi for a horror two footed, over-the-top lunge on the knee of Siyabonga Ngezana.
It was a brave, and the correct, call for a challenge that might have left Ngezana seriously injured.
Chiefs dominated possession but could not break through after Maritzburg showed real grit and build a Berlin Wall to keep their fancied opponent at bay.
AmaKhosi have now gone through their opening four matches of the new league season without a win – a first in their illustrious history.
“It is a pity, this was a game we had to win,” said under-fire coach Giovanni Solinas.
Chiefs were far from impressive despite so many factors in their favour and it showed after that but they missed some relatively easy chances but not before Deolin Mekoa shot wildly just a minute after his side had been reduced to 10 men and let slip a good chance for the home side to take the lead.
In the 22 minute, Kabelo Mahlasela’s square set up Khama Billiat for an easy tap-in but he got his feet mixed up and let the opportunity slip by.
Four minutes later, Pule Ekstein shaved the outside of the post with a shot from the edge of the area.
Leonardo Castro also had chances but despite a fancy bicycle kick also could not find his way to goal.
After the break, the pattern continued with Chiefs guilty of trying to be too fancy with too many short passes as Maritzburg provided stubborn resistance.
It was a game crying out for someone like Siphiwe Tshabalala to come in and provide direction as Chiefs began to lose the battle against time.
He was only brought on for the final 15 minutes and almost immediately had the best chance of the second half with left footer that produced a fine stop from Richard Ofori.
But he could not help his teammate engineer the goal and the majority of Chiefs and in the 11,00-strong capacity crowd left, like their team, with their tails between their legs.