Team of Choice back in business with Stars victory
26 February 2017
Maritzburg United fought back with two second half goals to claim their first win of 2017 with a 2-1 victory over Free State Stars at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday.
It proved to be a great show of character from United after they had lost 4-1 to SuperSport in midweek and found themselves a goal down at half time against the Free State team.
Maritzburg had the better of first half play, enjoying the bulk of possession, but found the Stars defence difficult to break down and as a result did not have many chances on goal.
There was an early opportunity for Siphesihle Ndlovu when he let rip from over 30-yards out, but his well-hit shot dipped inches wide of the post.
Instead it was Ea Lla Koto who took the lead with virtually their only chance on goal in the opening half when the ball broke to Mohamed Anas in the box, the Ghana marksman turning and planting a shot into the far corner of the net.
The Team of Choice continued to probe for openings and had a series of corner kicks, but could not penetrate the visitor’s defence.
Bandile Shandu did come close in the 40th minute when he rifled a 20-yard shot in towards the near post, but Stars keeper Henri Mafoumbi made an excellent stop.
Evans Rusike was to make a major impact off the bench and after his 60th minute shot had been saved, the Zimbabwean leveled the game in the 65th minute when he ran in to the near post to apply a flicked finish from close range to Deolin Mekoa’s cross.
Kwanda Mngonyama nearly put Maritzburg ahead in the 74th minute, his side-footed effort from 20-yards going narrowly wide.
But there was no denying the Team of Choice the winner, Lebohang Maboe slotting home into an empty net on 80 minutes after Rusike’s first effort hit the bar and then the second was palmed into Maboe’s path by Mafoumbi.
Virgil Vries made a crucial late save as United survived a late rally from Ea Lla Koto to close out a first win for head coach Roger De Sa at the club.
It was only a third victory for Maritzburg in 18 games against Stars and came at the perfect time as United look to get their season back up and running.
Maritzburg: Vries, Mngonyama, Fransman, Onyango, Wiedlich, Ndlovu, Maboe, Shandu (Saal 61’), Mekoa, Lentjies (Makaringe 77’), Mokate (Rusike 46’)
Stars: Mafoumbi, Mashego, Teyise, Mahamutsa, Thlone, Jantjie, Makhaula, Vilakazi, Venter (Masehe 46’), Anas (Nono 88’), Sekola (Sekotlong 58’)