Goals galore at Woodburn

2009-09-17 00:00

THERE might have been a touch of poor fortune in Maritzburg United’s 4-2 Premier Soccer League defeat to Bloemfontein Celtic at Woodburn Stadium last night, but ultimately it was the home team who conspired to be their own worst enemy in defeat.

Having bravely and impressively fought their way back from 2-0 down within the first 15 minutes to a fired-up Celtic in a lightning fast, if somewhat disjointed first half, to 2-2 at the break, United appeared to be the team in the ascendancy.

But goalkeeper Brenden Wardle’s 51st-minute dismissal, handling outside his area after miscuing a clearance, proved the catalyst for a string of errors by the home team that gifted the game to the visitors.

Celtic’s goals came via a brace each to their lethal strikers, the tall, powerful Sandile Ndlovu and pacy, guileful Prince Olomu, and it has to be said United failed to pick up either danger man well on the night.

Overall it was just a poor night out for the home team who were outthought and outsmarted in a frenetic game by their quick-witted opponents.

It will be back to the drawing board to some extent for Gordon Igesund and his men as they prepare for their next game against Ajax Cape Town at Athlone Stadium on September 23.

The first half was played at 100 miles per hour as Celtic came out fired-up and almost immediately engineered a two-goal advantage.

Skilful winger Tlou Segolela ran into space on the left and his cross was just over the head of Elias Ngwepe to be slammed in on the volley at close range by Olomu in the eighth minute.

Six minutes later, Ndlovu’s header at the far post, rising to Olomu’s free-kick from the right, appeared to take a slight deflection and snuck in past a stationary Wardle.

United fought tooth and nail to get back into the game, and by the break had levelled the score.

In the 20th minute Felix Obada’s speculative shot from outside the area took a deflection into the Celtic goal off the head of Michael Khaile.

Twelve minutes later, Noah Chivuta’s ferocious, swerving shot from range could only be parried by Celtic ’keeper Patrick Tignyemb and the rebound fell to Fadlu Davids, who easily swept in the equaliser.

United looked to have got the measure of Celtic and might have been quietly confident of a dominant performance in the second half. Instead the home team fell apart and a comedy of defensive errors was eagerly accepted by the visitors.

This was sparked by Wardle’s rush of blood in the 51st minute, miscuing a clearance straight to Ndlovu then handling just outside his area to stop the Celtic striker going through on goal, as referee Robert Smith rightly produced his red card.

Celtic took full advantage of their one man advantage. In the 63rd minute, Olomu won the ball in midfield, weaved forward and cracked one past substitute goalkeeper Tashrique Goldman from 25 metres.

Two minutes later United defender Mor Diouf attempted to use his body to shield Ndlovu from Oersen’s through pass but the striker snuck in between defender and goalkeeper and finished into an open goal.

The home defence was in shreds as Goldman pulled off a point-blank save from Ndlovu’s header onto the crossbar, and lively left-back Koloko Moteti saw his shot from the rebound deflected wide of Diouf.

It was United’s worst day at the office this season.

Last night: Maritzburg United 2 Bloemfontein 4, Wits University 4 Mamelodi Sundowns 2, AmaZulu 0 Ajax Cape Town 1, Santos 1 Jomo Cosmos 1, SuperSport United 4 Moroka Swallows 2, Orlando Pirates 1 Mpumalanga Black Aces 0, Free State Stars 3 Lamontville Golden Arrows 1

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