Forgettable United go Down

2009-02-05 00:00

MARITZBURG United put in one of their least memorable performances of the season, all too easily surrendering points in their 3-0 defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns at Chatsworth Stadium last night.

Sundowns are far from the finished product under Frenchman Henri Michel, and twice in the last six weeks United have gifted the Pretoria team flattering 3-0 victories. Last night United could not dominate a Brazilians side that played with 10 men following the 37th-minute dismissal of left-back Vuyo Mere.

The 14th-placed PMB team will be relieved that second-last Bay United also lost last night — 2-0 against SuperSport United in Pretoria — but Maritzburg seem destined to fight relegation, and survive or drop by the narrowest of margins.

United coach Gordon Igesund promised an attacking approach last night, but for whatever reason it never materialised. The KZN side paid their visitors far too much respect, and it seems United, abysmal travellers this season, lift themselves best when playing in front of their home support at Woodburn Stadium.

In their defence, United were done no favours by referee Jerome Damon, who awarded two soft penalties to Sundowns.

Downs took the lead early when United left-back Tshepo Mashishi went to ground, but was adjudged to have obstructed the strong run of Kurt Leintjes. Moriri easily beat goalkeeper Tashreeq Goldman with the ninth-minute penalty.

Again Siphiwe Mkhonza’a long throws were used extensively — perhaps too much so — in attacking positions by United and one fell to Sylla Mbemba in the area, who spooned his shot.

Sundowns were reduced to 10 men when Mere was booked for a second time for bringing down Justice Sithole.

A shot from Tony Tsabedze dribbled wide just before the break, and United’s prospects of fighting back seemed reasonable.

But it was Downs who came out exerting pressure, and a close-range shot by the lively Leintjes was well-saved by Goldman.

Ten minutes into the half the game was effectively ended as a contest when Leintjes went down in the area, and Damon blew for second a penalty. Goldman was again no match for experienced goal-poacher Moriri’s cleverly placed spot-kick.

Igesund, who introduced forward Lebohang Kukame for Mashishi in an attacking move at half-time, kept the changes coming with Junior Khanye replacing Sithole. John Arwuah’s long-range shot was palmed over for a corner by Calvin Marlin.

In the KZN side’s best two chances of the half, first Tsabedze’s cross from the left was knocked back by Khanye into the path of Kukame, who blasted over from 10 metres. Then Kukame’s header was excellently saved by Downs ’keeper Marlin.

Moriri wrapped up one of the softest hat-tricks he will score, in the 77th minute, when, after being found in acres of space in the area by Leintjes’s chip from the right, his shot cannoned off the crossbar and bounced inside the line by centimetres.

United will need a more combative approach in their next two games in Chatsworth against AmaZulu on Sunday and classy Golden Arrows on February 21.

Yesterday: Supersport United 3 Bay United 0, Maritzburg United 0 Mamelodi Sundowns 3, Thanda Royal Zulu FC 0 AmaZulu 3

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