rOYAL zULU in playoffs

HOLD ON ! Thanda Royal Zulu's Musa Nyatama fight for the ball with Maritzburg United's Fanyana Dhladhla  during their Premiership match at Mpumalanga Stadium in Hammarsdale on Saturday. 09/05/2009. Pic. Barry Aldworth. © Backpagepix.
HOLD ON ! Thanda Royal Zulu's Musa Nyatama fight for the ball with Maritzburg United's Fanyana Dhladhla during their Premiership match at Mpumalanga Stadium in Hammarsdale on Saturday. 09/05/2009. Pic. Barry Aldworth. © Backpagepix.

Thanda Royal Zulu have to start preparing for the coming promotion playoffs to secure a ticket in next season's PSL after they were held to a goalless draw by Maritzburg United at the Mpumalanga Stadium in Hammarsdale on Saturday.

Thanda Royal Zulu have to start preparing for the coming promotion playoffs to secure a ticket in next season's PSL after they were held to a goalless draw by Maritzburg United at the Mpumalanga Stadium in Hammarsdale on Saturday.

Both teams went into this match desperate to secure their places in the top flight. For United, who were in 13th position on 35 points going into this match, it was fairly straightforward. A draw or better would suffice.

However, for the home team who started in 15th position with 32 points, it was a must-win situation.

As expected, both sides put in a lot of hard graft from the first whistle in search of the precious points on offer, but neither were able to create enough goalscoring opportunities.

In one of the more significant moments of the match, Musa Nyatama had the Thanda bench on their feet in the 13th minute when he cut through the visitors' defence - with the help of striker Nkosinathi Nhleko from his central midfield position - but with only Michel Babale in United's goal to beat, he struck the upright.

Three minutes before the half-time whistle, United's Sipho Mngomezulu glided past his marker on the left flank and fired a cross into the home side's danger area. Phillip Evans, who was attempting to avert the threat, miscued his clearance, but luckily for him goalkeeper Aubrey Mathibe reacted quickly to spare his blushes.

The second half continued to be a battle of attrition as both teams looked to impose their will on the other. Thanda rang the changes as the half progressed with a hope of breaking the deadlock but to no avail.

The closest they came to hitting the target was when Nhleko directed a powerful header towards United's goal from a set piece. But defender Ellias Ngwepe, who was standing on the visitors' goal line, hacked the ball to safety. - Sapa

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