ANA
Premium Journalist
3 minute read
8 Feb 2019
10:59 pm

Maritzburg given hope of a new dawn after Polokwane victory

ANA

Maritzburg United ended a 14-match winless run in the league in fine style as they put up a superb showing to beat Polokwane City 3-1 at a rocking Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday night.

Maritzburg United celebrate the third goal during the Absa Premiership match between Maritzburg United and Polokwane City at Harry Gwala Stadium on February 08, 2019 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

A brace from Thabiso Kutumela, either side of a Mohau Mokate goal, saw the KZN team go 3-0 up, before Charlton Mashumba pulled a goal back for the Limpopo side, the win seeing Eric Tinkler’s side moving to within two points of 14th-placed Chippa United.

With the stands nearly packed and the home fans right behind their side, there was an air of confidence about Maritzburg early on in the game. And that quickly translated to a goal as Kutumela nodded the ball in from five yards out with just four minutes played, after Polokwane goalkeeper George Chigova had parried Siphelele Ndlovu’s stinging drive.

There was a real cohesion and fluency to the home side’s play and it could have been 2-0 in the 14th minute, when Kutumela’s cross picked out Mokate, but his header went just the wrong side of the post.

The visitors also had opportunities, and Bongile Booi was close with a header from a Jabulani Malueleke free kick five minutes later.

There was, however, a real cutting edge and confidence to Maritzburg’s play – which has largely been missing this season – and they were to double the lead in the 26th minute when Miguel Timm slipped in Fortune Makaringe, whose low cross picked up Mokate for a fairly simple tap in from six yards out.

After Ndlovu fired a 38th minute effort over the bar when he should probably have rather picked out a teammate, Maritzburg found themselves on the back foot for the final five minutes of the first half.

Booi was at the forefront of the visitors’ threat, and he was inches away from curling in a shot at the far post, before being stopped in his tracks right in front on goal a few minutes later by a superb tackle from home skipper Brian Onyango.

A three goal cushion is what the relegation-threatened club needed and that came just five minutes into the second half, as Makaringe combined delightfully with a couple of team-mates to find a pocket of space down the right, and then played in another superb ball for Kutumela, who finished expertly with a first-time shot in at the near post.

But the lead was soon to be cut as the hosts switched off at the back and Mashumba was left unmarked at the back post to nod in a Booi cross in the 59th minute.

The hosts though responded positively and had several chances to add another goal as Ndlovu was inches away from getting onto a Makaringe cross, the latter also firing a shot into the side-netting, while Chigova pulled off a brilliant reflex save to deny Judas Moseamedi.

Polokwane pushed hard to get back in the game in the final 10 minutes and there were some anxious moments for Maritzburg as goalkeeper Richard Ofori was called into action a couple of times, but they survived through to the final whistle for the morale-boosting win.

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