Maritzburg United

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Published 9 November 2019

TINKLER PRAISES UNITED’S FIGHT AND CHARACTER
     
   
 

Maritzburg United had to dig deep into their character reserves at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday night to salvage a 2-2 draw with Bloemfontein Celtic.

     
 

 

Goals from Daylon Claasen and Judas Moseamedi in the final five minutes enabled the Team of Choice to extend their unbeaten run in the Absa Premiership to five matches.

 

Coming on the back of a hectic recent fixture schedule, there was always going to be an element of fatigue to be wary of, and with that in mind, head coach Eric Tinkler made a handful of changes to his starting XI.

 

United started the game with a bang, but having been unable to convert some early chances, the hosts instead found themselves 2-0 down as Celtic scored eight minutes after the interval and again in the 81st minute.

 

"We've played three games in seven days, and it was noticeable after the Pirates game (Tuesday) that there were a lot of tired legs. I’m not a big fan of making too many changes, but to a degree we were forced to make those changes,” the coach said.

 

"I'm proud of the boys, they showed character and worked extremely hard. The only thing I can criticise is that we did not take our chances. Chances were there, particularly in the first 15 minutes.

 

"But I can't fault the boys for effort - you're 2-0 down, playing with 10 - you’ve made your three subs, Siyanda (Xulu) gets injured, now you're playing against 11 with 10.

 

"They're (Celtic) a very good team in possession, very good team going forward, but we showed character, we came back and we got the draw. We'll count our lucky stars to a degree.

 

“The crowd, the support we get here is exceptional. But I think we gave away two points, like we did against Pirates.”

 

On the plus side for coach Eric and the technical team was the Maritzburg players’ resilience, and the creative spark they showed to carve open a number of very good opportunities.

 

“Positives from this game were the character we showed, but there's still a lot of work to do,” he explained.

 

“At least we created chances, which we were struggling to do in the last three games. Like I said, in the first 15 minutes we could have had at least two goals, and won the game comfortably.”

 

Maritzburg are next in action against Kaizer Chiefs in two weeks’ time in the Telkom Knockout semi-finals. That match takes place at the Mbombela Stadium on Sunday 24 November.


   


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