Maritzburg put on polished performance

Maritzburg United put on a polished performance to outplay Santos and ease their relegation concerns with a 1-0 Absa Premiership victory at Woodburn Stadium on Saturday.

This was United’s third victory in succession in league and cup games and, in this sort of form, the Pietermaritzburg team appear unlikely to face the drop.

An excitable crowd of 6 000 people cheered United on, who could have won by a greater margin having been dominant throughout. Sipho Mngomezulu scored United’s winner in the 71st minute.

The team of choice could have opened the scoring in the 11th minute when Fanyana Dhladhla’s effort was blocked and fell to John Aruwah on the edge of the area, but his shot was cleared off the line by Mogogi Gabonamong.

In the 20th minute, Dhladhla won the ball on the right of the area and blasted over. Three minutes later, left-back Elias Ngwepe produced a good run and a cross which Brice Aka side-footed at goal where Santos goalkeeper Wayne Roberts pulled off a good save.

The visitors produced their first half-chance in the 24th minute when Bonginkosi Macala headed over from Erwin Isaacs’s free-kick from the right. At the other end, Aka fed Dhladhla on the edge of the area but his looping shot was palmed over the bar by Roberts.

United coach Gordon Igesund introduced Collen Zimba for Fadlu Davids 11 minutes into the second half and the on-fire striker immediately upped the tempo for the home team.

Three minutes after coming on, Zimba was fed into the area by Aka and squeezed a shot past his marker which was well saved by Roberts. From the resultant corner, Gary Goldstone headed inches over.

United’s deserved winner came in the 71st minute when winger Sipho Mngomezulu, on for injured Tony Tsabedze early in the game, produced a rocket from 32 metres that took a wicked deflection past stranded Roberts in goal.

A good save by United goalkeeper Michael Babale to keep out Macala’s shot with 10 minutes to go preserved the home team’s lead. — Sapa

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