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Relegation battle goes down to the wire after TS Galaxy draw with Gallants

Johannesburg — The relegation battle will go down to the wire after TS Galaxy and Marumo Gallants played out to a goalless draw at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.

Both teams had chances to come away with a victory in their penultimate DStv Premiership encounter of the season, but Melusi Buthelezi and Washington Arubi were resolute in their respective goals.

The Rockets are two points clear of the bottom two in fifth place after Swallows drew with Chippa United and Baroka picked up a massive win against SuperSport United.

Bahlabane Ba Ntwa moved up to 10th in the standings, after Sekhukhune United were beaten by Kaizer Chiefs.

Sead Ramovic’s side desperately needed the three points to take them closer to safety, while Gallants were looking to arrest a seven-match winless run in the league.

The visitors managed the first shot on target after eight minutes when Mahlatse Makudubela tested Arubi with an effort from outside the box.

The action quickly switched to the other end as Lindokuhle Mbatha was brought down on the edge of the area, and Lifa Hlongwane sent his free-kick just to the left of the goal.

Route-one football almost brought the opener on 21 minutes when Buthelezi’s long ball upfield was flicked on by Hlongwane for Mbatha, whose cross picked out Orebotse Mongae. However, his shot was well saved by Arubi.

Buthelezi was alert to the danger in the 32nd minute after Phillip Ndlondlo’s strike took a deflection on its way through to the keeper, while Hlongwane drew a save out of Arubi with his header three minutes later after getting on the end of Marks Munyai’s cross.

The first half came to a close with Bathusi Aubaas firing over the crossbar in the 44th minute after being picked out by Lindokuhle Mbathamade’s cutback pass.

Aubaas managed to hit the target with his next attempt eight minutes into the second half, but Arubi was equal to the task. Sibusiso Sibeko was wasteful at the other end when he steered a header wide of the right post on 63 minutes.

Arubi preserved his ninth clean sheet of the campaign as he kept out a long-range effort from Letsie Koapeng at the death to earn Dan Malesela’s men a point.

IOL Sport

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