By Lwazi Dlamini
(At Mavuso Sports Centre)
Royal Leopard………………..(0) 0,
Manzini Wanderers………..(0) 0,
Hub giants Manzini Wanderers gave themselves a very good chance of escaping the dreaded relegation axe after holding Royal Leopard to a goalless draw at Mavuso Sports Centre on Saturday.
The draw means the ‘Weslians’ remain third from the bottom with 18 points, a point below Tambuti FC and now four points clear of second-from-the-bottom Tambankulu Callies.
It was Wanderers Zambian goalkeeper Sitali Nyambe who earned the maroon and white outfit the precious point after two brilliant saves in both halves. Nyambe pulled off a 47th-minute save from three yards out when industrious midfielder, Sifiso ‘Junior’ Magagula unleashed a piledriver, but the acrobatic Zambian shot-stopper made a daring save.
Nyambe again saved comfortably a shot from Thokozani Dlamini who had been allowed all the time and space inside the box by the Wanderer’s defence in the 86th minute.
Before Nyambe’s brilliant saves, the Wanderers had a chance to go ahead on two occasions in the first half but Khulekani Fakudze broke free in the 15th minute and came face to face with Leopard goalkeeper Mlamuli Makhanya who bravely blocked his shot.
Then again ten minutes before halftime, ‘Gudas’ Dlamini dispatched Khulekani Fakudze with a defence-freezing pass but again, Fakudze, in a one-on-one situation fluffed his lines as his weak shot was easily blocked by Makhanya.
Wanderers, who resorted to playing ten men behind the ball in the second half, held onto the goalless draw until referee Thulani Sibandze blew his final whistle to earn a precious point which could make a world of difference when the curtain falls at the end of the season.
With four games now remaining, Nyanga ‘Crooks’ Hlophe’s charges have given themselves a fighting chance to stave off the relegation worries.