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Football | Absa Premiership

Ernst Middendorp © Backpagepix

Middendorp happy with draw



Maritzburg United coach Ernst Middendorp is happy to have taken a point from his team's 1-1 draw with University of Pretoria in their final Premiership match of 2012.

"We definitely went out to win this game, but I'm a very realistic coach and considering this team (AmaTuks) is the same one that drew with Chiefs four days ago, then there's nothing to be ashamed of with this result," Middendorp said on Wednesday.

The game was played at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Tuesday.

The visitors took the lead courtesy of a Mame Niang penalty 13 minutes into the game, before the hosts replied via a 35th minute spot kick from Cuthbert Malajila.

The result meant both sides will end the first half of the season in the top six, impressive returns considering both were tipped as relegation candidates before the season began.

United could consider themselves lucky after AmaTuks failed to make the most of numerous clear-cut openings, especially in the second half when Ayanda Lubelo was wasteful.

"There was less quality tonight and we got a point. That's just how football goes," he said.

Middendorp credited his players for a job well done during the first half of the campaign.

"I've said to the team already that it's a fantastic achievement over these six months to be in fourth position," Middendorp said.

"Looking back at how we started the season until now, losing so many players and bringing so many new ones in... putting everything into context, we could have been relegated."

AmaTuks coach Steve Barker was not entirely satisfied to have let two points slip, but was nonetheless pleased with the way they ended their year.

"I am a bit disappointed with the result because I thought over the 90 minutes we created the better chances," Barker said.

"We dominated major parts of the game, so it's not the desired result, although I can't fault the performance of my players.

"To end in the top six is a good achievement."

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