MARITZBURG LOOKING TO END 2019/ 20 ON THE FRONT FOOT
4 September 2020
The Team of Choice are determined to underline what has been a positive season with victory against Bloemfontein Celtic on Saturday afternoon.
The Absa Premiership fixture takes place at the Tuks Stadium at 3-30pm and is the last game of a prolonged 2019/ 20 campaign.
Since entering the bio-bubble, Maritzburg have not really hit their best form – after some decent results against big-hitters Bidvest Wits and Mamelodi Sundowns (two draws), United have suffered late setbacks in their most recent two games – a 1-1 draw with Highlands Park and a 0-1 defeat to Orlando Pirates.
In both matches the Team of Choice surely deserved better. But football can be harsh and three points can easily become one, or one point can become none - as was the case versus Pirates.
Now however, the Team of Choice are determined to end on a happy note by securing victory over Celtic in Pretoria.
Head coach Eric Tinkler admitted disappointment as to how results have gone of late. But looking at the bigger picture it has certainly been a good season – with a top eight position secured not to mention an appearance in a Cup final in the Telkom Knockout.
“I don’t think it takes away that I’m very proud of the fact of what we have achived as a team and as a club this season. Finishing sixth, finishing in the top eight is a fantastic achievement considering where we were last season.”
Sitting ninth on the table, Celtic beat Kaizer Chiefs 3-1 a few weeks ago before recording four consecutive draws. The Free Staters can still claim a top eight spot if results go their way, and United can expect a testing afternoon.
The KwaZulu-Natal side have enjoyed a good record against Phunya Sele Sele over the years, with 13 wins, 11 draws and five defeats in 29 matches.
However, the last time the teams played ended with Celtic knocking Maritzburg out of the Nedbank Cup, with a 3-2 victory.
The first round league encounter between the sides this season ended in a 2-2 draw, United storming back with two goals in the last three minutes of regulation time from Daylon Claasen and Judas Moseamedi.
Moseamedi will be available for selection again after he missed the last match through suspension - for accumulating four yellow cards over the season.
Mxolisi Kunene, Dan Moorgan and Phumlani Ntshangase miss out through injury.
“We are a little bit thin at the moment,” coach Eric said, “we just have to deal with what we have and move forward and try and finish off the league as best we can. Then we will start prepping for next season.”
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