United dictate game

2013-09-19 00:00

MARITZBURG United were on song when they beat Mpumalanga Black Aces by 2-0 in their Premiership game played at Harry Gwala Stadium last night.

The Team of Choice went into last night’s game having last found the back of the net in their season opening win here against Polokwane City.

Having not scored in three games, United found themselves leading 2-0 within the first eight minutes.

Ernst Middendorp’s boys had a different look about them. Thamsanqa Mkhize and Ashley Hartog were given their second consecutive starts, while Ayanda Nkosi was in the place of Dillon Sheppard, who dropped to the bench.

The way United started the game, it seemed as though the message from Middendorp was “attack, attack, attack”, and that is how they played.

Even Rheece Evans, who usually plays at right back, was influential having being pushed further up the field.

The deadlock was broken in the third minute as Nkosi collected a pass from Mkhize. Looking a tad offside, he collected the ball and advanced onto the Black Aces keeper Bafana Nhlapo and fired it into the back of the net.

Five minutes later, United fans were in seventh heaven when from a Ryan de Jongh free kick, defender Mario Booysen, also starting his second consecutive game ahead of Mohammed Awal, made it 2-0 with a headed goal.

It could have been 3-0 on 15 minutes when lovely interplay between United’s best three players of the half, De Jongh, Mohammed Yakubu and Nkosi, linked up. Spotting the Ghanaian out on the wing, De Jongh sprayed the ball out to him, and a lovely cross by Yakubu found Nkosi, whose shot from close range was well saved by Nhlapo.

Having not done anything throughout the game, United keeper Shu-Aib Walters was forced to push a long range shot by Botswana international Ofentse Nato over the bar.

With United dictating play, things were to go from bad to worse for Clive Barker’s boys when Sandile Zuke, who looked their best player, was given a straight red card following a reckless challenge on captain Michael Morton.

Black Aces started the second half the better side as they dominated play for the early stages as it looked like Middendorp was looking to protect the lead.

But, the boys from Mpumalanga were forced to play for a couple of minutes after local boy Mabhuti Khenyeza was ordered off the park to have his jersey sorted after his number fell off.

With no spare jersey in the dressing room, the bench had to come up with a plan and used a black marker to write Khenyeza’s number on his jersey for him to return to the pitch.

Substitute Thabang Matuka who came on for Yakubu on the 58th minute had a chance to make it 3-0, but his one-on-one shot was thwarted by Nhlapo.

Khenyeza would later show why Black Aces needed him on the field when with Walters coming out to collect the ball, he beat him and shot at goal with the ball missing narrowly.

With Matuka through in the box, and Terrance Mandaza, who came on for Nkosi, waiting, he scuffed his pass and the ball was easily collected by Nhlapo.

The numerical advantage was beginning to tell with United seemingly able to control the tempo of the game without much of the ball.

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