United end poor run with win over Stars

2017-03-01 06:02
PHOTO: Gallo ImagesMaritzburg United midfielder Lebohang Maboe was rewarded with man of the match honours for his display in their 2-1 comeback win over Free State Stars at Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday.

PHOTO: Gallo ImagesMaritzburg United midfielder Lebohang Maboe was rewarded with man of the match honours for his display in their 2-1 comeback win over Free State Stars at Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday.

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MARITZBURG United brought their five-game losing streak in the Absa Premiership to a halt with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Free State Stars on Sunday afternoon.

It was Roger de Sa’s first win as the Pietermaritzburg club’s head coach, having drawn his first game in charge against Polokwane City, lost 2-1 to Kaizer Chiefs and most recently a 4-1 humbling against SuperSport United.

The first half ended with the visitors leading Maritzburg by 1-0, courtesy of a goal from Mohammed Anas — who was playing against his former club — in the 21st minute.

Man-of-the-match Lebohang Maboe gave the Team of Choice the lead in the 80th minute with a close range finish, after forward Evans Rusike came from the bench to cancel out Mohammed Anas’s first-half opener for Ea Lla Koto.

The first half ended with the visitors leading by 1-0, courtesy of a 21st minute goal from the Ghanian, who moved to Free State in January after leaving the PMB outfit in the off-season.

The former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper is aware that the result does not erase the problems the team have been experiencing when attacking, but he was nonetheless happy to collect maximum points in what was the side’s second home win in the league this season.

Speaking after the game, the visibly relieved mentor said: “To be honest I think we deserved the win. I thought we were better than them. Especially up until they scored, I thought we were playing pretty well.

“We created chances, we were in control of the game for the first 20-25 minutes until we conceded and then obviously they changed the game around a bit.

“They had confidence but they never really dominated. We were the better side.”

De Sa also mentioned what pleased him about his team’s performance, while revealing his excitement with the new system he introduced on the day in order to accommodate their underachieving strike force.

“We made the change in the second half. We brought in Evans [Rusike], who is not yet 100% fit but we thought we should take the risk with Mokate [Mohau] looking a bit tired, and it paid off. We changed the formation slightly.

“We let Kwanda [Mngonyama] go a bit more on the right-hand side and played with the back three. And that kind of worked. We eventually broke them down and got the goal.

“Of course it could have gone either way, again, but I think we deserved to win.

“We’re just grateful that the subs were good on the day,” he added.

De Sa took over the reins in January from assistant coach Fadlu Davids, who was roped in in an interim basis following Ernst Middendorp’s unexpected resignation in November last year.

Sunday’s result lifted the KZN franchise to eighth on the table, above Orlando Pirates and Chippa United, with 23 points from 19 matches, as their counterparts remain in 14th position and now five points behind them.

They will next be in league action when they take on local rivals Golden Arrows in what is expected to be a feisty KwaZulu-Natal derby with both sides looking to make statements as they target a strong top-eight finish when the campaign ends.

Kickoff at Princess Magogo Stadium is scheduled for 6 pm.

Here is how both sides lined up on Sunday afternoon:

MARITZBURG UNITED:

Virgil Vries, Kwanda Mngonyama, Bevan Fransman, Brian Onyango, Dennis Wiedlich, Siphesihle Ndlovu, Lebohang Maboe, Bandile Shandu (Devon Saal 61’), Deolin Mekoa, Kurt Lentjies (Fortune Makaringe 77’), Mohau Mokate (Evans Rusike 46’).

FREE STATE STARS:

Christoffer Mafoumbi, Katlego Mashego, Thamsanqa Teyise, Rooi Mahamutsa, Bokang Thlone, Sinethemba Jantjie, Makhehlene Makhaula, Nhlanhla Vilakazi, Danny Venter (Paulus Masehe 46’), Mohammed Anas(Allen Nono 88’), Moeketsi Sekola (Thokozani Sekotlong 58’).

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