Maritzburg come from behind to beat Bloem Celtic

Maritzburg come from behind to beat Bloem Celtic

Maritzburg United players celebrate during the Absa Premiership match between Maritzburg United and Bloemfontein Celtic at Harry Gwala Stadium on April 05, 2019 in Pietermaritzburg. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

Allan Kateregga came off the bench at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday night to score a sensational late brace in a 2-1 league win for struggling Maritzburg United over Bloemfontein Celtic.

Maritzburg had looked dead and buried at 1-0 down with 10 minutes to play before Kateregga came to the rescue with two goals in eight minutes to give Eric Tinkler’s bottom-of-the-table team new hope of surviving relegation.

The Team of Choice, however even though they remain a point behind Baroka FC and Chippa United – who are still to play this weekend.

It was the hosts who enjoyed the better of the first half exchanges on a wet evening. But despite creating a few openings and enjoying eight corners, the KZN Capital City outfit lacked conviction in front of goal and never really looked like scoring.

After Mxolisi Kunene had scuffed an early shot, the best opportunity of the first half fell the way of Maritzburg striker Mohau Mokate in the 11th minute, but from just a few yards out he got his angles all wrong with an attempted header.

The hosts did have the ball in the back of the net in the 14th minute, however, Thabiso Kutumela was clearly in an on-side position.

Moments before that, Celtic had come within a whisker of scoring on the counter attack when Ndumiso Mabena’s effort from a tight angle hit the outside of the upright while Kabelo Dlamini also had a few chances for the visitors, who showed more attacking intent midway through the opening stanza.

The home side then regained the initiative in the final 15 minutes before the interval, but apart from a couple of potentially dangerous crosses into the box, which Celtic defended well, a goal didn’t appear to be on the cards.

Maritzburg’s failure to score came back to bite them just two minutes into the second half when Menzi Masuku stroked the ball into goal from close range after a clever assist from Dlamini, following a swift counter attack instigated by the wily Mabena.

The hosts picked themselves up and came looking for an equaliser, but still it wouldn’t fall for them as Kutumela had a shot saved by Patrick Tignyemb before striking the woodwork with a cross.

Celtic, meanwhile, remained a threat on the break and as the hour mark approached, Dlamini should have added a second goal when he stole the ball from defender Brian Onyango, only to skew the parting shot well wide.

Maritzburg continued to push and probe for a way back, and after Yannick Zakri and Bandile Shandu had missed chances, Kateregga finally got them on the scoresheet as he fired in an expertly-taken volley with 10 minutes to play.

United remained on the front foot, but still didn’t look overly convincing for a goal until with two minutes of regulation time to play, that man Kateregga picked up the ball 30-yards out and struck a stunning effort into the top corner, a goal which may just yet help the Midlands club beat the drop.

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