Classy Buckley’s brace helps United sink the Brazilians at home

2012-09-03 00:00

BAFANA Bafana legend Delron Buckley was the hero for Maritzburg United as the Team of Choice showed plenty of quality on their way to a deserved 2-1 victory over Mamelodi Sundowns in Atteridgeville yesterday.

Buckley scored both goals in the second half in what was United’s first ever PSL victory away to Sundowns.

United coach Ernst Middendorp had made it clear before the game that his side would look to attack the hosts, and that was made clear as striker Cuthbert Malajila came agonizingly close to opening the scoring within the first 20 seconds of the match, his side-footed effort missing to the right of goal.

United had set up with Buckley playing in a three-pronged central midfield in front of Michael Morton and youngster Ryan de Jongh — a fullback by trade. De Jongh’s energy and Morton’s fearlessness made it difficult for Downs to create any attacks, and the United defence was rarely threatened in a first half that saw the visitors starved of the ball.

But even without the majority of possession, United were the ones manufacturing chances. Malajila made some promising runs and linked up well with wingers Terrance Mandaza and Mthokozisi Yende.

In the second half United continued to look comfortable defensively, but on a weekend that produced no less than four goalless draws across the country, it appeared as though proceedings at the Lucas Moripe stadium would follow suit.

That was until the 71st minute when Buckley found himself in some space and played a neat one-two with Malajila on the fringes of the Downs area. At 34-years-old, Buckley blasted his educated left-footed effort past a sprawled Wayne Sandilands in the Sundowns goal in a moment that brought the United bench to its feet in what seemed like choreographed fashion.

As good as that goal was, Buckley would prove his class just four minutes later with his second strike. Malajila provided the assist once more before Buckley delicately lifted the ball over a charging Sandilands with the outside of his left into the Sundowns net and put United two up.

Sundowns would not be put down, though, and Nyasha Mushekwi’s injury-time goal after linking up with Teko Modise made it a nervy finish for the visitors.

But they had done enough to secure their second win of the season and move to second on the PSL table after three rounds of fixtures behind only Kaizer Chiefs on goal difference.

Middendorp was thrilled with his side’s efforts and praised his side’s attacking intent.

United next face Free State Stars at Harry Gwala stadium on September 14.

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