United to dig deep to see off Usuthu

2010-03-31 00:00

AS MARITZBURG United and AmaZulu were once again pitted against each other, in what has been dubbed Part 2, the Team of Choice are banking on home-ground advantage to see off the Usuthu challenge, as they aim to put on decent showing in the Nedbank Cup.

At the draw, held in Gauteng on Monday night, United were drawn against Usuthu, just over two weeks after falling 1-0 to the Durbanites in the Telkom Knockout at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Before the setback, United had enjoyed a good run over the Neil Tovey-coached side last season, beating them twice in league meetings.

Since roping in German tactician Ernst Middendorp midway through the season, United’s fortunes changed, as evidenced by the good run they had at the refurbished Harry Gwala Stadium.

They notched up two impressive wins, over Golden Arrows (1-0) and Orlando Pirates (2-1), before succumbing to Santos (0-1).

Speaking after attending the draw for the Nedbank Cup, in which the winning team will take home R6 million, United operations manager Quinton Jetto, said. “It is obviously a tough draw, considering that it’s a derby. We are still smarting from the defeat. We believe we created a number of chances to score, but were unlucky. This time we aim to rectify that, and we believe our lovely supporters will come out in numbers. We are appreciative of their efforts and we hope this continues.”

While AmaZulu chief operations officer Lunga Sokhela welcomed the draw, he sounded a bit wary about meeting opponents who have a chance to spy on them this weekend.

Usuthu are to play in the Telkom Knockout semi-finals against Ajax Cape Town in Bloemfontein this weekend, and Sokhela believes this places United in a good position.

“It’s always tough playing Maritzburg, and they will have the advantage of assessing us when we play Ajax. Since we will be playing in their territory, with their throngs of fans rallying behind them, we have braced ourselves for a hostile atmosphere,” said Sokhela.

KwaZulu-Natal side Arrows have been pitted against defending champions Moroka Swallows, in what would be a tough away clash in Gauteng.

The full draw:

Ajax Cape Town v Wings United

Thanda Royal Zulu v Peace Lovers

Santos v Jomo Cosmos

Orlando Pirates v Bloemfontein Celtic

Maritzburg United v AmaZulu

Nathi Lions v Wits

Island FC v Mamelodi Sundowns

Parkhurst v Winners Park

Moroka Swallows v Golden Arrows

Platinum Stars v Als Puk Tawana

Tower United v Free State Stars

SuperSport United v Kaizer Chiefs

M Tigers v Black Leopards

Ikapa Sporting v FC Cape Town

FC Royals v MP Black Aces

Pretoria University v Vasco Da Gama

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