Sekhukhune United secured a 1-0 win over Maritzburg United in the DStv Premiership on Saturday evening, with Sibusiso Vilakazi coming off the bench to score the winner for his side.
The game got off to a slow start at the Peter Mokaba Stadium with Sekhukhune playing on the front foot with five minutes on the clock.
Babina Noko registered their first attempts at goal soon thereafter but were denied by good goalkeeping by King Ndlovu. After 10 minutes on the clock, Sekhukhune looked comfortable on the ball with the Team of Choice providing little attacking threats.
After 20 minutes of football played, Maritzburg found themselves in the Sekhukhune half on a couple of occasions as they began taking the game to the home side. However, Babina Noko defended aggressively and shut down the Team of Choice advancements.
The game reached a tacky period around the half hour mark with a number of crunching tackles flying in from both teams. In a battle to win possession of the ball, Sekhukhune edged the travelling outfit with hard running in midfield.
However, the referee called time on the first 45 with neither side able to make the most of their goal scoring opportunities.
It was an even affair soon after the restart with both sides taking the cautious approach in an attempt to gain control of the game. Nonetheless, it was Sekhukhune who remained the more progressive of the two outfits.
With an hour played, Sekhukhune penned Maritzburg back but battled to breach their watertight defence. In response, the Team of Choice looked for counter-attacking opportunities for much of the second-half.
Bradley Cross received his marching orders with 10 minutes to go following a rough challenge on the edge of his penalty area.
In what proved to be an inspired substitute by coach Brandon Truter, Sibusiso Vilakazi got his name on the scoresheet in the 85th minute with Babina Noko taking advantage of having the extra man on the pitch.
Vila’s late effort was the difference in the tie, as Sekhukhune United bagged maximum points in a 1-0 win at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.
Sekhukhune United: (0) 1 (Vilakazi 85’)
Maritzburg United: (0) 0
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