Middendorp suspended for two PSL matches

2012-11-09 00:00

MARITZBURG United coach Ernst Middendorp will be watching his side’s next two PSL matches from the stands after picking up a red card during his side’s 2-1 victory over Bloem­fontein Celtic at Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday night.

Celtic coach Clinton Larsen had contested the fourth official’s decision to allocate three minutes of stoppage time, and a heated argument ensued between the two managers and the official. Both Middendorp and Larsen were shown red cards, and both managers will serve the same punishment.

Middendorp will still be able to conduct his pre-match and half-time talks, but United will be without his vocal and animated presence in their match against Golden Arrows at King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi tomorrow evening.

“It is a situation that the club regrets, and one that we will abide to and have to deal with,” United chairperson Farouk Kadodia told The Witness yesterday.

“Ernst has been a great coach for us this season and has always acted in a professional manner.”

Kadodia pointed out that Middendorp had merely reacted to Larsen’s attempt at swaying the fourth official, and that the German had not seen the added time board raised in the first place.

Middendorp’s ban will also apply to United’s home match against SuperSport United on November 20.

However, there is good news in the Team of Choice’s camp.

All of the players that featured in Wednesday night’s 2-1 win have avoided suspension and injury and only Peter Petersen remains on the sidelines as he continues to recover from a hip injury. He is expected to miss tomorrow’s trip to Durban.

But possibly the best news following what was a highly entertaining victory, which has seen United rise to fourth on the PSL log, was the return to form of Cuthbert Malajila.

The Zimbabwean striker hadn’t scored since September 25, but his two goals on Wednesday night oozed class and United fans will breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their goal poacher is back to his best.

“That is Cuthbert as we know him, even if he hasn’t been doing it for us recently,” United coach Ernst Middendorp said after the match.

“His first goal and his second goal were fantastic and that is what we expect from him.”

In addition to Malajila’s performance, Middendorp will have been satisfied with the never-say-die attitude of his players, specifically midfield workhorse Michael Morton.

The energetic 23-year-old was handed his first start in four matches after falling behind Byrone Hendricks in Middendorp’s holding midfield pecking order.

But with Petersen injured, Hendricks moved to right back to pave the way for a return to the starting lineup for Morton.

With Petersen expected to miss tomorrow’s match, there could be another opportunity for Morton to strengthen his case for a regular place in the team.

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