Stellenbosch Football Club

Stellies & Sekhukhune share spoils in entertaining stalemate

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Stellenbosch FC were held to a goalless draw by Sekhukhune United in a DStv Premiership match heavily impacted by weather-warning winds at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch.

In a battle between the second and third-placed teams in the DStv Premiership standings, Stellenbosch FC and Sekhukhune United took to the field on Saturday with an eye on bolstering their respective hopes of continental qualification.

The guests had the better of the slim opportunities on offer during the opening 10 minutes, most notably through the creation of two set-piece scenarios which ultimately failed to yield any reward.

A lack of end-product was similarly prevalent at the other end of the pitch, where Stellies’ midfield and the attacking quartet of Iqraam Rayners, Devin Titus, Anicet Oura, and Andre de Jong struggled to connect as a result of the challenging weather conditions.

Despite this, the Maroons fashioned the best chance of the half when Rayners chased down a raking pass from Titus before delivering a pin-point cross to Oura, but the Ivorian could only squirm an effort narrowly wide of the opposition goal.

Rayners was in the thick of the action again late in the half when he fired a shot on target but his effort was deflected out for a corner, and no breakthrough was to be forthcoming for the remainder of the opening forty-five.

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Steve Barker’s troops came out motivated for the start of the second stanza and tested Sekhukhune United’s defence from the off, with Oura and De Jong seeing their respective efforts blocked by Babina Noko’s backline.

The opposition responded with a long-range effort from Jamie Webber which flew narrowly over Sage Stephens’ goal, as both sides signaled their intent to play on the offensive.

Stellenbosh then shifted into third gear and came close to opening the scoring just after the hour mark, bombarding Sekhukhune’s goal only to be denied by Badra Ali Sangare’s heroics between the sticks.

The Ivorian goalkeeper first tipped a looping effort onto his crossbar and out, before denying Rayners and De Jong from close range in the immediate subsequent passages of play, with the referee turning down two penalty shouts against the latter in the process.

Those decisions spurred on the home crowd who willed Stellies forward with regularity in the dying stages of the match, but the men in Maroon ultimately couldn’t find the match-winning goal, settling for a share of the spoils at the DC.

Stellenbosch FC starting XI: Stephens, Van Rooyen, Moloisane, Toure, Basadien, Nduli, Ngaga, De Jong, Oura, Titus (Van Wyk 79′) & Rayners