Second chance for United

2014-10-02 00:00

KAIZER Chiefs versus Maritzburg United, round two, takes place on Saturday night at the FNB Stadium in Soweto.

It is the second time that the sides will meet at the venue in seven days, after the Team of Choice went down 1-0 to Amakhosi at the weekend in a PSL clash. Three log points were up for grabs that day, but this time a place in the quarter-finals of the Telkom Knockout is what the sides will be playing for.

Maritzburg put up a brave fight in their loss on Saturday, but were simply outclassed by a Chiefs outfit that had no problem keeping the ball and creating chances.

Coach Stuart Baxter’s men could have won that match by a greater margin had they been more clinical in front of goal, while Maritzburg struggled to manufacture any clear-cut scoring opportunities at the other end.

Chiefs have been in supernatural form this season, winning all 11 of the matches they have played across the PSL and MTN8, and Maritzburg left-back Thabang Matuka says it is the family-like atmosphere in the Chiefs squad that has made them so threatening.

“It is more a case of them being a team and a unit,” Matuka told The Witness yesterday. “They are comfortable with each other and they have become a family, and that has turned them into a formidable side.”

This has been a breakthrough season for Matuka, who struggled to work his way into the starting line-up under previous coaches Ernst Middendorp and Clinton Larsen. Under Komphela this term, though, Matuka has finally been given his opportunity despite the pre-season acquisitions of John Paintsil and Khumbulani Banda who can also play at left-back.

“I have been waiting for this chance for a long time, and so far so good,” said the 24-year-old. “You have to be patient and put in the hard work, and then when your chance comes you have to just take it with open arms.

“Steve [Komphela] instils confidence in all of the players. If you work hard you will get your chance and then it’s up to you.”

The task at hand is great, but the fact that Maritzburg have just returned from a night at Chiefs stands them in good stead.

“The fact that we have just been there does make it easier,” said Matuka. “But we can’t be complacent. This will be a completely different game and we need to just go there and put up a good fight.

“This game means a lot to us.”

United go into the match without the injured duo of Sibusiso Kumalo and Deolin Mekoa, while nobody is suspended.

Kick-off is at 8.15 pm and the game will be televised on SuperSport Four.

TELKOM KNOCKOUT FIXTURES

Tomorrow: Wits v Moroka Swallows

Saturday: SuperSport United v FS Stars, Platinum Stars v Chippa United, Mamelodi Sundowns v University of Pretoria, Kaizer Chiefs v Maritzburg Utd, AmaZulu v Bloem Celtic

Sunday: Orlando Pirates v Polokwane City, Ajax Cape Town v Black Aces.

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