Maritzburg were off their best away to Baroka FC last Sunday and suffered a 2-1 loss.
They’ll now be determined to capitalise on home ground advantage for Friday’s (8pm kick off) Absa Premiership clash with the Citizens, who have been in good form of late.
“They (Cape Town City) have won two games on the trot, so their confidence and their morale is going to be a lot higher and it’s going to be an extremely tough game,” head coach Eric Tinkler said.
Under new City coach Jan Olde Riekerink, the Citizens have been employing a different brand of football.
Coach Eric says his side will be ready for whatever comes their way, but also underlined the importance of taking the game to the Cape team and playing to Maritzburg’s own strengths.
“The way City play is very different. There have been certain changes in terms of their style of play. Under Benni (McCarthy) they played with a lot of speed, in behind, now they are a lot more patient. You’ve always got to be tactically ready, you’ve got to plan for both.
“Cape Town City are a good team – you look at where they finished off last season. They started off poorly this season but that didn’t make them a bad team. With the quality they have, they needed to come out of the situation they were in.
“But at the same time we are a better team this season than last season and we need to look to play to our strengths . Playing at home we need to command the game.
“We have a good record at home and we want to maintain that record. We come off a loss and a poor performance, so obviously we want to collect the three points at home,” he said.
In the first round match at the Athlone Stadium, Maritzburg recorded a 1-0 win over the Citizens.
In the last three games at the Harry Gwala Stadium between the two clubs, there were two league draws (0-0, 1-1), while the Citizens edged out United 1-0 in an MTN8 encounter.
Coach Eric will be wanting to turn improve on that record around and is looking for his men to tap into the wonderful home support they receive from the Blue Army.
“The support that Maritzburg United get is absolutely phenomenal,” he said. “The fans come in their numbers and it’s a massive added motivation for the players. It’s good for the image of the game, for the quality. We would like to see more support for home-town teams in South Africa.”
The Team of Choice have a clean bill of health, with the likes of Phumlani Ntshangase, Siyanda Xulu and Kwanda Mngonyama back from injury and in contention to feature on Friday.
Tickets for the match are on sale at the official Maritzburg United club shop in the Liberty Midlands Mall.
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