United claim a prize scalp

2008-09-14 00:00

MARITZBURG United promised Kaizer Chiefs a war, and gave it to them in the Pietermaritzburg team’s 3-2 victory at Chatsworth Stadium yesterday, though at times the home team did overstep the mark and a bad-tempered game was marred by controversy.

A charged-up United showed what a dangerous attacking team they might be this Premier Soccer League season by putting three goals past Chiefs. A thrilling game was played at a frenetic pace throughout.

But the elbowing by Gary Goldstone of Chiefs’ young striker Tshepo Bulu, for which the United defender was booked but should certainly have been red-carded, marred an afternoon of high drama. Goldstone might face a citing by the PSL’S review committee for a cynical, dangerous foul.

Apart from that incident, five goals were scored, United coach Gordon Igesund was sent off and Amakhosi coach Muhsin Ertugral walked out of the post-match press conference.

While the United camp felt they played the game hard but fair, Ertugral’s view was that his players were kicked off the field. The coach, who had contributed to the bad temper of the match with his vociferous touchline antics, later returned to the press briefing once Igesund and assistant Clinton Larsen had left.

Ertugral said: “I apologise for walking out, but I am a bit emotional about what happened to that young boy [Bulu]. His nose and cheek are broken.”

That Igesund was the only person to receive a red card indicates Ebrahim lost control of the match.

It is unfortunate that these events might have tarnished an otherwise superb performance by United, and thrill-a-minute game. Despite the controversy, the United players’ celebrations were well-deserved, perhaps none more so than those of goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap and midfielder Sipho Mngomezulu.

Mngomezulu, a part-time regular last season in the NFD, has come into his own in the PSL, and had a storming game on the right, scoring one goal and setting up another.

American Gilstrap, making his PSL debut in the most furious of encounters, at times looked awkward, but overcame his nerves with a spirited display that included a penalty save.

The experience of Goldstone, apart from his momentary rush of blood, and Bageta Dikilu in central defence also shone through.

Igesund said: “Our goals today were outstanding, and the third was an absolute masterpiece”.

Chiefs opened the scoring in the sixth minute when Gert Schalkwyk robbed Tony Tsabedze and threaded his pass to Bulu down the middle, who beat Gilstrap and finished.

That set the tone as United left-back Elias Ngwepe’s chip put Lucky Maselesele through to force a point-blank save from Itumeleng Khune. In the 34th minute Chiefs defender Valery Nahayo blasted onto the crossbar from six metres.

Tsabedze’s sharp shot from the left produced another good save from Khune at his near post, but the ’keeper was at fault for United’s injury time equaliser. Mngomezulu was worked into space via a short corner and touch-on by Tsabedze and his blistering drive from the left edge of the area was palmed by Khune into his own net.

The action kept coming in the second half as Fadlu Davids beat Jimmy Tau on the right in the 48th minute and squared to Brice Aka, whose first shot bobbled off Nahayo, the Ivorian making no mistake with the second.

Goldstone’s infringement in the 67th minute seemed to fire up Chiefs, who made it 2-2 in the 74th minute when Gilstrap palmed out Mandla Masango’s header to in front of the goal-line, and Nahayo scrambled the ball over.

United’s 85th-minute winner came via a lightning passing movement that saw Mngomezulu released on the right to square to Davids, who opened his season account with a deft finish past Khune.

Ebrahim awarded a soft penalty to Chiefs for a push by Goldstone on David Mathebula in the 89th minute, but Gilstrap dived to his right to deny Jonathan Quartey.

With Igesund red-carded for leaving his designated area in front of the bench United faced a nervous 10 minutes of injury time, but held on for victory.

Weekend’s results

Friday: Orlando Pirates 0 Wits University 0, Santos 3 Bay United 0

Saturday: Free State Stars 0 Lamontville Golden Arrows 0

Yesterday: Maritzburg United 3 Kaizer Chiefs 2, Thanda Royal Zulu 2 Bloemfontein Celtic 1.

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