United can get better, says coach Larsen

2013-11-11 00:00

DESPITE conceding in the 90th minute to go down 2-1 to Platinum Stars at Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday night, Maritzburg United coach Clinton Larsen was happy with how his team fought to the end.

The game, played under the stars and in front of what looked like the biggest crowd at the stadium so far this season, was an open affair as both teams went for the win.

On-form Namibian international Henricho Botes was United’s tormentor throughout the night, opening the scoring after just 16 minutes. With the clock showing 90 minutes, he played the ball over United’s defenders for Tintswalo Tshabalala to beat United ’keeper Shu-Aib Walters, ensuring the three points went to Rustenburg.

Larsen was disappointed in conceding so late, but felt his team’s performance was good. “We were good in the second half and at 1-1, we had opportunities to win the game,” he said. “It was disappointing to concede such a soft goal, and we should have been more switched on.”

Not for the first time this season, United were kept in touch by the goalkeeping of Walters, who made a number of top saves in the first half.

Larsen felt his team were improving with every game as the players became more familiar with his philosophy and with injured players returning to fitness.

With time running out, and the scores deadlocked at 1-1, Larsen brought on former Borussia Dortmund man Delron Buckley and Dutchman Orlando Smeekes, and it was these two elder statesmen who nearly conjured up a goal on two occasions.

“I’ve said it before,” said Larsen. “We want to attack teams at home. I’d rather lose a game going for the win than shut up shop.”

Despite the loss, United remain in seventh on the league table, while Dikwena moved up to third with only the Pretoria clubs — Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United — ahead of them.

United have a week’s break ahead of their second KZN derby of the season on Sunday, November 24, when they take on Golden Arrows at the King Zwelethini Stadium in Umlazi.

The big test for United comes in the first week of December when Orlando Pirates come to Pietermaritzburg.

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