Igesund looking forward to Sundowns on Friday night

2009-09-28 00:00

MARITZBURG United’s two solid Premier Soccer League results on the road, 1-1 draws against Ajax Cape Town then Lamontville Golden Arrows at Chatsworth Stadium on Saturday, could have set them up for a good outing against Mamelodi Sundowns at Woodburn Stadium on Friday night, said coach Gordon Igesund.

United continued their steady start to the season with another impressive away result.

Last season the PMB team bled goals and suffered lopsided scorelines on the road.

This season they have lost by a single goal with 10 men to Platinum Stars, beaten Kaizer Chiefs 1-0, and now two draws.

Certainly United have shown they are a much harder team to beat. Now, on Friday night at home to the team they have never beaten in the PSL, and regularly take a few hidings to, the Team of Choice will be out to improve on their two wins from eight games.

Once again on Saturday United had their opportunities to take the three points.

In a scrappy game that was affected by heat, wind and a scuffed-up Chatsworth pitch, the visitors had a glut of possession and territory though could not always use it to full effect.

Almost inevitably, dangerous Bafana Bafana striker Richard Henyekane beat the offside trap in the 63rd minute to a Koffi Tanoh pass, and finished clinically past United goalkeeper Tashrique Goldman.

United’s influential winger Felix Obada then slipped with the goal at his mercy attempting to latch onto the rebound after Rudolf Bester’s searing drive was parried by Arrows ’keeper Helton Da Rocha.

The Nigerian finally did score a last-minute equaliser when he blaste­d in from close range after Musa Nyatama’s header struck the post.

United missed industrious, threatening striker Fadlu Davids and stalwart right-back Peter Petersen, who were both rested.

In their place Norman Smith had a battling afternoon against the Arrows defence and James Madidilani’s match rustiness saw him give too much space to Henyekane.

“I thought Smith did really well considering he was playing against one of the best central defenders in the league in Siyabonga Sangweni, who really bottled him up,” Igesund said. “Madidilani might have made one mistake where he let Henyekane free for Arrows’ goal, but we play as a team and we take responsibility as a team.

“Overall I was very pleased with my side’s performance. We closed Arrows down in the right areas. Arrows are a very good, very well-coached team, who perhaps didn’t have their best game, though partly because we didn’t let them.

“I’m happy with a point and I think this result could have really set us up for Sundowns.”

United have notched two points from their last three games — a 4-2 defeat at home where the team had Bloemfontein Celtic on the ropes before goalkeeper Brenden Wardle was sent off, a draw against Ajax where the Capetonians scored from a late deflected goal and Saturday’s draw that could also have been a win.

There is a sense the Pietermaritzburg team could have had more points were it not for a mixture of some bad luck and a new side not quite having developed a killer instinct yet.

Overall, though, this has been United’s best start to a PSL season — now they will be aiming for that first win against Downs.

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