By CHRIS TOTOBELA
On Saturday 10 March, two local sides hosted teams from Alexandria in the SAB regional league fixtures. The XI Attackers took on the challenge of Leeds, with the main match of the day taking place between Maru and Golden Chiefs.
In an intense contest, Attackers drew one all against Leeds early in the day. Attackers came from a goal down to level matters via the boot of Siyabonga Mnyakama. Mnyakama shocked the visitors with a well taken over head kick which left the keeper motionless to the delight of the home crowd. The intense match ended as a draw, which served as a great curtain-raiser for the main match of the day.
In the main game, Maru took on the hard running Golden Chiefs outfit. Both teams made their intentions very clear from the first whistle. In the 11th minute, the lack of communication at the back by Maru defenders nearly gifted the visitors an opener but the striker’s shot went narrowly wide. Golden Chiefs’ powerful wing play gave Maru defenders a headache as they struggled to deal with Chiefs’s skillful and speedy wingers.
The home side started putting up some neat passes together, with good combinations creating scoring chances, but failed to make them count. Finally their efforts were rewarded in the 32nd minute of the game, when Liyabona Nondlwana ran into a perfect through pass to intelligently lob the ball over the head of an advancing keeper to open the scoring.
The visitors did not drop their heads and kept on pushing forward. Maru’s defence succumbed to the pressure and were caught ball watching after allowing Bronwyn Jonas to jump unchallenged to head home the equaliser. With this, the halftime whistle blew, and the scores stood at 1-1.
The second half started exactly the same way as the first with both teams playing with more purpose and dishing out very good football. Maru squandered a lot of clear cut chances and were made to pay when they were punished from the set-piece again, gifting Bronwyn Jonas his brace with a well taken header that gave the keeper no chance at all.
Maru came out fighting and took the game to their opponents pushing more numbers forward in search of an equaliser. The pressure finally paid off, as Maru found the long awaited equaliser via the boot of their hard working skipper, Ayamkela Boloti, setting up a great last ten minutes.
Both teams went toe to toe in search of a winner and the home side nearly got punished when the visitors striker’s went just few inches wide with the keeper well beaten. The final whistle went off to end a very tough and exciting encounter with the score level at 2-2.