19 March 2009

Santos blocking route to last 8

Maritzburg United need to beat Santos for the second time in the space of a week in order to advance to the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup.

While the Team of Choice scored a narrow 1-0 victory over their Cape Town opponents at the Woodburn Stadium last Saturday, coach Gordon Igesund was more than happy with his team's display, especially in the second half.

Maritzburg are currently in a hot vein of winning form, having won their last three games on the trot.

However, Igesund, a former Santos and Ajax Cape Town coach, knows conditions in the Cape well and the Athlone Stadium is never a easy venue to win at.

In Santos, Maritzburg face a side with little to play for in the league - the Cape side are likely to be seeing the Nedbank Cup as their best chance at silverware this season, making them dangerous opponents.

Up front, they have not been firing on all cylinders, but if the likes of Eleazar Rodgers, Erwin Isaacs and Ryan Chapman are on song, they all have the potential to trouble United's defence.

Attack however is often the best form of defence and in that respect Igesund has plenty of ammunition - strikers Brice Aka, Fadlu Davids and Collen Zimba are all in good nick at present, and they have been ably assisted up front by the likes of Sipho Mngomezulu, Fanyana Dhladhla and Tony Tzabedze.

Maritzburg have also shown more stability in the middle of the park, in defence, and in goal, where Tashrique Goldman and Michel Babale seem to have solved the goal keeping problems experienced earlier in the season.

With the Maritzburg side looking more and more like a well-oiled machine with every passing game, there is no reason that they should not return from Cape Town looking forward to the quarter-final draw.