History in favour of United

2013-10-26 00:00

MARITZBURG United head to Durban tomorrow to take on AmaZulu in the Premier Soccer League knowing that history is on their side.

Since the 2006/07 season, the two teams have faced each other 12 times in the league. United won six of those ties, and AmaZulu only one.

The Team of Choice’s good fortune against AmaZulu continued last season when they picked up four points against the Durban side.

Luckily for AmaZulu, their tormentor from last season, Cuthbert Malajila, has since departed for Mamelodi Sundowns. The Zimbabwean netted a brace as United overcame them 2-0 at Harry Gwala stadium.

The Team of Choice will head into the game at Moses Mabhida Stadium in better form. Both teams lost their last games against the Pretoria duo of Sundowns and SuperSport United this week. However, Clinton Larsen’s boys can count themselves unlucky in failing to walk away from the game with at least a point.

Usuthu, however, found themselves on the wrong end of 7-1 drubbing. They could struggle against a United side that looked more tuned into attack mode in their last game.

United controlled large parts of the game and created a lot of chances against the in-form Matsatsantsa a Pitori. They were let down by their finishing in front of goal, which at times was criminal.

Larsen’s boys will have to go into tomorrow’s game looking for nothing but a win as they currently remain in ninth place, despite the loss earlier in the week. A victory would see United go above Craig Rosslee’s team on goal difference with a quarter of the season gone.

The Team of Choice’s weakness so far this season has been their form in front of goal, with their defence — thanks to the in-form Shu-Aib Walters — their strength.

With the exception of Orlando Pirates who have played just two games so far, only fellow KZN outfit Golden Arrows have scored fewer goals (three) than United’s four strikes. But, they have been strong at the back with only three teams conceding fewer.

Midfielder Ryan de Jongh was influential against SuperSport with a couple of amazing runs. He also created plenty chances for frontmen Mohammed Yakubu and Thokozani Sekotlong.

He will be a key player for the club, as will the wingers, 34-year-old Dillon Sheppard and impressive teenager Frank Sarfo-Gyamfi.

Despite beginning the season with 1-0 wins against both Soweto giants Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows, AmaZulu have been in a bit of a lull. They have gone four games in all competitions (three in the league) without a win.

The game also pits Larsen against Rosslee, rated as some of the brightest young coaches in the country.

With a good start to the season, the former Pirates coach will hope his team bounces back from their embarrassment at the hands of the free scoring Sundowns.

Larsen told Weekend Witness that despite going down 7-1, they know that AmaZulu could bounce back, adding that such a result was a once-off nightmare not to be repeated often. With the new lease on life that surrounds the Maritzburg club, they should fancy their chances in coming back to the city with three points, and the early KZN bragging rights ahead of a trip to the Free State in two weeks to face Bloemfontein Celtic.

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