16 January 2008

Maritzburg triumph over log leaders

A brave performance from Maritzburg United saw them upsetting log-leaders Ajax Cape Town 2-0 at the Woodburn Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Playing like their lives depended on the game, the Team of Choice were deserved winners and could well have won by a bigger margin had they converted a couple of clear-cut chances.

But the important thing for the home side was to get all three points, which would have been much appreciated by the large crowd, who turned out in their numbers to support United.

It was the home side who had the upper hand in the first half.

The first talking point of the game came in the sixth minute when referee Matthew Dyer was called upon to make a difficult decision when Peter Petersen went down inside the box. Dyer decided that Petersen had dived and booked him for his trouble.

The Team of Choice showed a great sense of urgency in attack and were unfortunate not to go ahead in the 19th minute when Lynch Pule thundered a header into the upright following a free kick.

Tashrique Goldman has done well in his last couple of games and further enhanced his reputation when in the space of a minute he held onto a long range shot from Dipsy Selolwane and then pulled off a fine save to deny Mabhudi Khenyeza from close range.

The home side were rewarded for their spirited performance when scored in the 32nd minute.

A special goal it was as Gary Goldstone, back in the team for the injured Simphiwe Mkhonza, pulled the trigger from close to 40-yards out to send a scorching shot into the top corner of the net, giving Ajax goal keeper Andre Petim no chance.

The Team of Choice should have double their lead in the 41st minute when Elias Ngwepe picked out Sipho Mngomezulu at the far post. Mngomezulu's first touch was good and he did well to make space for the shot, but then blasted the ball over the bar from only 12-yards out.

United’s 49th minute foray was a text-book example of a counter-attack – the only part that was missing was a goal as the Team of Choice swept quickly up the right flank via Goldman, Petersen and Mngomezulu, who played in an inch perfect ball for Fadlu Davids, but his parting shot flew high over the bar.

Ajax showed that they were still capable of getting something from the game when Khenyeza and Sifiso Vilakazi both had shots on goal in the 56th minute before Maritzburg wasted another chance to extend their lead when Tony Tzabedze side-footed wide from in front of goal in the 62nd minute.

The Urban Warriors were forced to play the final 25 minutes of the game with 10 men after Khenyeza was sent off following a second yellow card.

Ajax never really looked like scoring and Maritzburg sealed the win in the 90th minute when Tzabedze curled a delightful shot into the top corner from the edge of the area.

The result momentarily lifts Gordon Igesund’s team out of the relegation zone, but 15th-placed Bay United have a game in hand on them.


Maritzburg: Goldman, Dikilu, Ngwepe, Petersen, Tsabedze, Arwuah, Goldstone, Mbemba (Mathebula 37’), Mngomezulu, Pule (Ncubeni 55’), Davids

Ajax: Petim, Allie, Carelse (Masel 70’), Ferreira, Evans, Ngobeni (Shabalala 46’), Vilakazi, Scott (Alexander 71’), Doutie, Selolwane, Khenyeza