United aim to end goal drought

2013-02-23 00:00

IF there is one thing that we have learned about Ernst Middendorp over his Maritzburg United career, it is that he doesn’t approach cup football any differently to league football.

His emphasis when the Team of Choice meet the University of Pretoria in the last 32 of the Nedbank Cup today will, once again, be on his side’s performance and nothing else.

While the coach continues to focus on implementing a defensive structure that makes his side difficult to break down, it is no secret that they also need to start finding the back of the net at some stage.

Three PSL matches this year have not yielded a goal for United, and with striker Cuthbert Malajila not at his optimum performance level as he continues to recover from a knee injury, these are challenging times for United’s goal-scoring ambitions.

The two league clashes between the sides this season have been heated. In the PSL season opener Tuks were aggressive, to the point where the officiating was heavily criticised after United — and Delron Buckley in particular — were the victims of some blatantly dangerous tackles. A late Mario Booysen goal earned United a point that day, and when the sides met again at Harry Gwala in December it was just as tight — a Malajila penalty sharing the spoils once more.

But this is all irrelevant for Middendorp, and all that matters to him is that the side continues the progress they have made this season by staying disciplined.

“We approach the cup game the same as we would any other game,” Middendorp told Weekend Witness.

“We look for the performance and the reaction of the players. Hopefully we can be better in the forward movement and then we can get the result. We know that much more is possible [given United’s last three lacklustre displays].”

While the league is always the priority for any team, United fans would love nothing more than to enjoy a cup run and challenge for silverware this season.

While Malajila is almost certain to start, despite not being at his best, Middendorp will also sweat over the availability of Frank Sarfo-Gyamfi, Ruben Cloete and Heinrich Isaacks after the trio were injured in last Friday’s loss to Mamelodi Sundowns.

Good news is that midfield workhorse Michael Morton returns from suspension.

But the major problem for United, above any other, is that they aren’t creating enough chances to score goals. At the beginning of the season, Buckley was the conductor of the United orchestra — his touches, passes and goal scoring ability all contributing to the best start the team had ever made to a PSL campaign. But when the former Bafana Bafana star is not at his best, it is difficult to see where else the creativity will come from.

Tonight’s match kicks off at 8.15 pm and will be shown on SABC 1.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.