Not all doom and gloom for United

2009-01-25 00:00

MARITZBURG United registered another defeat against Kaizer Chiefs at Olympia Park in Rustenburg on Saturday, by 1-0, but it is not all doom and gloom for the second-last Premier Soccer League team.

United have secured two victories in 14 games and are in danger of going to last place should they lose at Woodburn Stadium on Wednesday to last-placed Bloemfontein Celtic, who demolished Thanda Royal Zulu 6-1 yesterday in a remarkable performance at Seisa Ramabodu Stadium.

But the PMB team will be relieved to have come through the worst of the hellish programme they were handed on their return from the Christmas break. United played five games in 16 days against Moroka Swallows (lost 2-1 away), Orlando Pirates (lost 2-1 away), Ajax Cape Town (won 2-0 at home), SuperSport United (lost 3-1 at home) and Chiefs.

“I think we’ve been playing well, but we’ve got to turn that into wins now,” Gordon Igesund said yesterday.

United held their own against Chiefs and were putting the Amakhosi defence under pressure at the start of the second half before the home side conjured up a goal out of the top drawer on the hour mark. Siphiwe Tshabalala’s great cross from the left picked out Abia Nale on the far side, who knocked the ball back in to Kaizer Motaung junior in the middle to finish into an empty net.

Chiefs were made to work for their victory and United had their chances too in a game played in searing heat.

“I thought Chiefs scored against the run of play, and the temperature was something like 38ºC. But that sounds like we’re making excuses and I’d rather not talk about these things,” Igesund said.

“We’ve got to look ahead because we have got a huge game ahead of us on Wednesday, and we just have to think about winning that because it’s a ‘six-pointer’ for us.

“I believe that if you compare our remaining matches to some of the teams around us we have a relatively easier programme, so if we can beat Celtic we should be alright. We have a lot of games at home, and only two of our away matches [Bay United on March 4 and Platinum Stars on April 19] are outside of KZN.”

Igesund said the United players’ self-belief remains high.

“Celtic’s confidence will be up and we will have to be wary of them. But I believe our confidence is also at a good level, because I really believe we have been playing very well even though we haven’t got the results.

“And with our home support, which has been tremendous because I think our fans have realised what a tough programme we have had, we need to go out and stamp our authority.”

United captain Bageta Dikilu, who went off with a hamstring injury in the 26th minute, is doubtful against Celtic.

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