Aka to United's rescue again

2008-11-26 00:00

SLOWLY but surely Maritzburg United appear to be steadying the ship — their last three home results have been a 1-0 defeat, 2-2 draw then yesterday’s 2-1 PSL win over Bay United at Woodburn Stadium.

To what extent this should be taken as a reflection of the steadily declining standard of their opponents — league leaders Golden Arrows, mid-table Platinum Stars then lowly Bay — is still open to question.

Nonetheless, after a six-game league and cup losing streak the relief and sheer delight on the faces of the United players at the final whistle was a clear indication of the significance of yesterday’s result.

In an amusing sideshow that highlighted the fighting spirit of the home team, United coach Gordon Igesund actually helped to strap the head of injured Bageta Dikilu in the last 10 minutes. The coach then lifted his groggy captain by the arm and unceremoniously prodded the defender back onto the field to defend the team’s one-goal lead.

Bay slipped to second-last place, while Maritzburg are now five points clear of the relegation zone scramble.

Cynics might suggest that a single-goal home victory over struggling Bay, who last week parted with coach Vladislav Heric, might not be much to shout about. But United have been under growing pressure with each poor result, and the simple fact is they needed a victory yesterday, by almost any means possible.

The first half performance of the home team was not encouraging, and the pressure appeared to be showing. But United relaxed in the second half on a Woodburn pitch made wet and slippery by the constant drizzle, and recaptured a measure of the exciting play that saw them go four matches unbeaten at the start of the season.

United had two early chances in the first half — Lynch Pule headed wide from Fadlu Davids’s floated ball from the right, and Peter Petersen’s overlapping cross found Brice Aka free to force a save from Bay goalkeeper Arthur Bartman. From the rebound Davids’ shot struck prostrate Bartman and went for a corner.

The home team took the lead in the 53rd minute. Elias Ngwepe was fouled by Jermaine Christian and referee Charl Theron awarded an indirect free-kick in the area. Tsabedze, who had a lively performance after a quiet start at United, picked his spot after a touch-on by Petersen.

Within five minutes, a blunder by Hunter Gilstrap, who had an otherwise promising afternoon in goal, saw the visitors equalise. The American missed an attempt to palm Jimmy Zakazaka’s cross over the bar, and the ball rebounded off the woodwork for Abayomi Adebayor to tap in.

Aka, who is making a habit of producing match-saving goals at Woodburn, equalised with his fifth of the season within two minutes, latching onto a through-pass and slotting his finish from just inside the area.

Aka hit the post in the 64th minute, and in the 76th substitute Junior Khanye beat the offside trap and fed Tsabedze, who slid on his shot.

Meanwhile, Kaizer Chiefs had a controversial penalty saved, but then scored from the resultant corner to beat table-topping Golden Arrows at Orlando Stadium last night. New striker Zito Ogbanna missed the spotkick, but defender Valery Nahayo saved his blushes by heading in on 70 minutes. Giants Orlando Pirates and Sundowns fought out a goalless draw at the Super Stadium.

RESULTS: Celtic 0 SuperSport 0, Maritzburg Utd 2 Bay Utd 1, Thanda 0 Santos 1, AmaZulu 1 Moroka Swallows 2, Chiefs 1 Arrows 0, Ajax CT 2 Wits 1, P Stars 0 FS Stars 0, Sundowns 0 Pirates 0.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.