Ten-man United toil to victory

2009-11-30 00:00

THE match, played in difficult conditions, did not live up to expectations, although a carnival atmosphere among the 22 000 rain-soaked spectators set the mood for the opening of Moses Ma­bhida Stadium yesterday, as 10-man Maritzburg United toiled hard for a 1-0 Premier Soccer League victory over AmaZulu.

After a lively opening ceremony, the two teams struggled to find their rhythm and often the basics were absent, as chances were hard to come by.

United had defender Peter Petersen sent off by referee Charl The­ron in the 28th minute for tugging back Sibusiso Hadebe, who had a clear path on goal. But this almost worked to the visitors’ advantage, who kept their shape and doubled their effort to earn victory via Brice Aka’s 71st-minute goal.

“I prefer playing games where there are 11 players against 11,” admitted AmaZulu coach Neil Tovey. “We’re not the first team to lose against a team that has had a red card — it happens all over the world.

“It actually makes it a lot more difficult — you’ve got to double your efforts because you know the opponents will double theirs.”

AmaZulu had been exerting most of the pressure before Petersen’s dismissal, but were unable to make their one-man advantage count afterwards as United held firm.

The PMB broke through in a good period in the final 20 minutes that followed the introduction of the lively Rudolf Bester.

James Madidilani’s free-kick from the right found Bester at the far post, who headed across goal for Fadlu Davids to head across the line. Davids should have been credited with a goal but Usuthu ’keeper, Mbongeni Mzimela, scooped the ball out and Aka’s miscued shot looped into the net.

It was United’s fifth successive victory over AmaZulu in the PSL and the PMB side went back to a place ahead of Usuthu in 12th.

It was also a first win in his third game for new Maritzburg coach Ernst Middendorp, which the German said would boost his side’s confidence.

“Of course, it was good for us to get the three points. The defence, especially after having a player sent off, was very good,” Middendorp said.

“On the other side, I am realistic and know there is much more possible from my team — especially in the passing, keeping possession and making the right decisions. It is necessary to do it in a better way as a member of the PSL.

“But, after waiting for so long for the three points, this was the next step and we have to take it from here. It’s about belief and confidence and I hope we will make a step with these three points, with a view to the next match on Wednesday against Platinum Stars [at Woodburn Stadium].”

Middendorp was asked to compare Moses Mabhida to the stadiums used in the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

“The quality’s even better, which it should be, because Germany’s stadiums were finished in 2005 and now it’s 2009. They have really done fantastic work. It has a fantastic atmosphere and will be even better when it is full,” he said.

The opening of the majestic World Cup semi-final venue was shrouded in a veil of light mist and drizzle, and the match was a stop-start affair with little goal-mouth action, but this did not spoil the occasion.

Strangely, though, the drizzle found its way to the press box near the top tier of seating, despite the stadium’s impressive roof. This area will house a 600-strong media tribune, complete with desks, TV monitors and laptops in 2010, which could be of concern.

Results: Saturday: Orlando Pirates 2 Moroka Swallows 2, Santos 1 Ajax Cape Town 0, SuperSport United 0 Bloemfontein Celtic 0, Free State Stars 2 Mamelodi Sundowns 2, Platinum Stars 2 Lamontville Golden Arrows 1, Mpumalanga Black Aces 0 Jomo Cosmos 0

Yesterday: AmaZulu 0 Maritzburg United 1, Wits University 0 Kaizer Chiefs 3

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