Maritzburg still unbeaten

Maritzburg United retained their unbeaten record in the Absa Premiership this season by holding Black Leopards to a 2-2 draw at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Tuesday night.

The Limpopo team looked on course to claim a home win when Rodney Ramagalela handed them an early lead, but Ruben Cloete pegged them back in the second half before Cuthbert Malajila scored late on to put the visitors ahead.

However, a dramatic twist in the dying minutes saw Leopards score through Raymond Monama to make it 2-2 and ensure a share of the spoils in what was an entertaining league clash.

Maritzburg made the early running as far as scoring chances are concerned, with Mthokozisi Yende heading over the bar three minutes in before Cuthbert Malajila forced Ayanda Mtshali into the first save of the match.

Leopards gradually worked themselves into the game and striker Rodney Ramagalela fired a left-footed effort wide of the target 14 minutes in after some good set-up play by Raymond Monama.

The playmaker created another chance for his teammate three minutes later and this time Ramagalela found the back of the net, beating goalkeeper Shu-aib Walters from about 10 metres out, putting Lidoda Duvha ahead on the score sheet.

Just past the midway point of the first half, Delron Buckley almost levelled the scores with a shot direct from a free kick but Mtshali produced an excellent save to tip the ball around the post.

Ramagalela continued to look threatening for the remainder of the first half, while Mongezi Bobe also went close with a 43rd minute shot, but the referee’s whistle for the interval saw the home team still just 1-0 up.

The Team of Choice upped their game in the second half and made it 1-1 on 63 minutes through former Free State Stars and Orlando Pirates left-back Ruben Cloete, who scored from long range to record his first goal for the KwaZulu-Natal club.

With just eight minutes of regulation time left to play, Maritzburg surged ahead through Malajila, who turned home a low shot from close range after good work by Buckley to create the chance.

The Zimbabwean hit-man could have extended the visitors’ advantage three minutes later, but his effort came back off the upright. Leopards took advantage of the let-off when Monama scored from a Nkosiyabo Xakane cross in the 88th minute to make it 2-2.

Black Leopards (1) 2 (Ramagalela 17’, Monama 88’)

Maritzburg United (0) 2 (Cloete 63’, Malajila 82’)


Leopards: Mtshali, Tshepe, Nyirenda, Khoza, Xakane, Bobe (Amidu 68’), Mabunda, Monama, Dzaga, Zulu (Gumede 77’), Ramagalela

Maritzburg: Walters, Petersen, Cloete, Awal, M. Booysen, Cloete, Smeekes (De Jongh 79’), Morton (Hendricks 46’), D. Booysen, Buckley, Yende, Malajila