Maritzburg United and Bidvest Wits cancelled each other out at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday evening, as they played out a goalless draw in their Absa Premiership clash.
In a match which featured far more fouls than efforts at goal, the Clever Boys picked up a point to consolidate their place at the top of the log (13 points from six outings), while the Team of Choice remain winless and are stone last on the standings with two points from four completed games.
The early action in the match featured a studs-up tackle from Pogiso Sanoka on Deon Hotto which could have brought a red card from a stricter referee, while Andrea Fileccia forced Darren Keet into a good low save after he cut inside from the right and got away an effort on target.
Keet made another sharp save in the 20th minute: a free kick delivered into the Wits penalty area fell kindly for Rushine de Reuck, who sent a hard, low effort to the middle of the goal, only for the ‘keeper to make a block with his legs.
The Wits gloves-man was certainly the busier of the two ‘keepers through the first half, and was called into action again on the stroke of halftime when he made a relatively comfortable save from Keletso Makgalwa’s shot on goal direct from a free kick.
The Clever Boys smartly pulled off Thulani Hlatshwayo at halftime, with the defender on a yellow card and having been involved in several skirmishes. Veteran Vuyo Mere took his place in the team.
Maritzburg’s first substitute, Deolin Mekoa, almost handed his side the lead in the 61st minute when he pulled the trigger on a long-range shot, but Keet again did some fine work for the visitors and tipped the ball over his crossbar.
United goalkeeper Richard Ofori had been relatively quiet, but on 66 minutes he made a superb save to turn away a goal-bound header from Mxolisi Machupu, with Wits suddenly beginning to ask far more questions of the home side’s defence.
The Johannesburg side should have stolen all three points late in the game when substitute Gift Motupa did great work to steal possession in the final third, but after exchanging passes he blazed over from close range with the goal at his mercy.
The Team of Choice also created one last chance when they put Mohau Mokate in on goal in injury time, but again Keet was on hand to ensure his clean sheet remained intact.
The teams will return to league action next weekend, with Wits at home to Polokwane City on Friday, September 21, while United will be away to Bloemfontein Celtic on Sunday, September 23.