United eye PSL success after cup defeat

2012-11-06 00:00

THEY may have been knocked out of the Telkom Knockout Cup on Friday night, but there is little time to dwell on that for Maritzburg United as they prepare for tomorrow night’s PSL clash with Bloemfontein Celtic at Harry Gwala stadium.

Friday’s was a forgettable fixture for the Team of Choice as they went down 2-0 to SuperSport United after two defensive errors in the second half proved costly.

First, a misplaced pass from centreback Mohamed Awal allowed SuperSport’s Kermit Erasmus space to create a goal and then substitute Rheece Evans capped off a difficult night with a slip that afforded Sibusiso Zuma all the time in the world to put the game to bed.

But Maritzburg coach Ernst Middendorp refuses to ring any defensive alarm bells ahead of tomorrow night’s clash. “For me the game could have easily finished 0-0. They were waiting for us to make a mistake and we delivered for them, but they never really had any clear chances,” the coach told The Witness yesterday.

“It was our mistake that cost us, simple easy as it is. We have made this mistake but generally our defence has been good. To now start blaming and pointing fingers like something is wrong is nonsense.”

But while Middendorp may not want to change anything at the back, he may be forced to after right fullback Peter Petersen was substituted in the first half of Friday night’s loss with a bruised hip.

“It [the right side of Petersen’s hip] is still very blue and we will have to wait and see what happens; we still have two days,” Middendorp said.

If Petersen, who has been in exceptional form this season, is ruled out then Middendorp is likely to turn to Evans for tomorrow night’s clash.

“It has been a tough season for Evans that has seen him spend a lot of time on the bench and he has failed to make much of an impact when appearing as a substitute. His big chance came when he replaced Petersen on Friday, but he was given a difficult time by Erasmus on a number of occasions and the nature of SuperSport’s second goal would not have done anything for his confidence.

“He [Evans] has been a little short in believing in himself but we know that he can do much better,” said Middendorp.

While happy with his side’s defensive work, it is at the other end of the park where the coach expects to see more from his players. Singling out attacking midfielder Mthokozisi Yende, Middendorp hopes the work done in training is more effective in front of goal tomorrow night.

“Yende has not delivered for us yet and we don’t know why … even he does not know why,” said Middendorp. “But he is a player of experience and I am sure that we will get more from him.”

Speaking of playmaker Delron Buckley, who appeared to run out of steam in Friday night’s match, the coach said there were no concerns over the physical wellbeing of the 34-year-old.

“Delron is okay, he is fine,” he said. “He needs more support with the forward passing and movement and that is where we need Yende.”

Tomorrow night’s match kicks off at 7.30 pm and will not be televised. Those fans who want to see the match will have to make their way to the stadium, where they can be assured that the coach is confident of a good result.

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