Maritzburg dominated most of the game against Dikwena at a packed Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday, but it took two goals from Andrea Fileccia in the final five minutes to claim victory after Riyaad Norodien had struck with a sensational early free kick.
Coach Fadlu was especially impressed with the way his players held their nerve in what was always a tension-filled match against the bottom-of-the-table Stars.
“After half time it was about keeping calm, not rushing, not just launching long balls into the box like a team normally does when behind. Keeping the structure and the patience. We had 90 percent of the game, their goal was out of nothing,” coach Fadlu said, before adding that United won’t get caught in the hype of their lofty log position (they went second on Friday night before dropping back down to fourth over the weekend).
“We are going for the target of 40 or 43 points to secure the top eight, that’s what we are focussed on. We have a young squad and we’re not going to talk about the title or top five, it’s about top eight, getting a place better than last year (seventh). Sixth would be a fantastic achievement for the club. We have to keep calm and keep going game by game.”
While rightfully praising his men, coach Fadlu admitted that without the Team of Choice’s ‘12th man’ in Pietermaritzburg, the victory may never have materialised.
“The goals came because the supporters kept pushing us, the players didn’t give up. Fantastic reward for the players who kept going. There were lots of games like this where we kept going – SuperSport, Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, but we never got the goals in the end, so fantastic reward.
“One thing I must mention is that these fans here in Pietermaritzburg are absolutely fantastic. We lost one of them – may her soul rest in peace – Tandeka, we’ll go to the funeral (on Saturday). It was a sad day, but this win was for her.
“For these loyal supporters who come week in week out. These people out here are absolutely fantastic, they pushed us [to victory] nobody else. The goal wouldn’t come, but they kept pushing us and pushing us and eventually it came.”
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