Friday nights at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg are proving to be nightmare for opposition teams.
Bloemfontein Celtic were cruising and on their way towards claiming maximum points against Maritzburg United but the Team of Choice showed great character and resilience to earn a point in well contested Absa Premiership showdown.
Celtic were 2-0 up with eight minutes to go but Maritzburg proved once again that they are no push overs in their own territory especially at home on Fridays. Friday nights are becoming epic in Pietermaritzburg. There are no dull moments. It is always drama and it was the case tonight.
Sera Motebang broke the deadlock after the interval. It was a critical stage of the game and the Team of Choice were caught off guard. Ndumiso Mabena delivered an exquisite cross in to the box. The ball fell in to the path of Motebang who finished with aplomb.
He showed great composure to beat the stubborn Ghanaian net-minder, Richard Ofori between the sticks for Maritzburg. The goal was scored just five minutes in to the second half.
The home side were not deflated as they pushed hard for the equaliser. Tinkler introduced Daylon Claasen and Judas Moseamedi. He sacrificed Thabiso Kutumela and Jeremy Brockie to try and dominate the midfield and have more aerial threat. Jackson Mabokgwane was forced to be substituted after clashing with Siyanda Xulu in a nasty battle.
Siphelele Luthuli increased the lead for Celtic after well worked move orchestrated by Lentshane Phalane and Menzi Masuku.
Phalane played a telling pass to Masuku who did well to beat the offside trap and passed the ball in to the path of Luthuli who rattled the net. It was another goal in the critical stage of the game as it came in the 82nd minutes.
The game looked to be over for the home side but Claasen won a penalty for the Team of Choice just two minutes before the final whistle. He was fouled by Phalane in the box. Claasen dusted himself up and converted the spot kick. It was game on.
Lack of concentration proved to be Celtic’s demise at the end. They conceded in the referee’s additional time. Moseamedi showed a great persistence to minus the Celtic defence before finding the back of the net. It was great character shown by the home. They never gave up and were rewarded for their dilige nce and resilience.
Some of the supporters were already outside the stadium when the home side snatched the equaliser at the death. They have already give up that the maximum points are gone for the team from Kwa-Zulu-Natal’s capital but Moseamedi had other ideas.