Kompela off to a winning start with United

2014-02-07 00:00

IT was an absolutely crazy 15 minutes that saw four goals scored, but Maritzburg United finished strongest to trump the University of Pretoria 3-2 in Wednesday night’s PSL encounter at Tuks Stadium in what was coach Steve Komphela’s first game in charge at the Team of Choice.

United were 1-0 down with only eight minutes to play before a Kurt Lentjies penalty and a trademark Mario Booysen header put them ahead with just five minutes left. But the lead was short-lived, and Tuks equalised in the 92nd minute through Thabo Mnyamane. A thrilling draw seemed a fair result, until debutant and second-half substitute Bongolethu Jayiya stole all three points for United with the last kick of the game in what is arguably one of the most exciting finishes seen in the PSL this season.

For United goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters, who has well over 100 caps for the club, those 15 minutes ranked up there as the most exciting he had ever been involved in.

“I told Steve [Komphela] after the game that he must have brought his Free State Stars muti with him to Maritzburg,” joked Walters, making reference to the bizarre nature of the match.

“A normal Maritzburg side would have settled for a draw, and I think we showed great character to win the game in the last second.”

Lentjies, back at United for a second spell after forgettable stints at Bloemfontein Celtic and SuperSport United, was immense for United. Playing in the number 10 position, he had a hand to play in all three goals.

“Kurt has a lot to prove. He has been injury-prone at Celtic and SuperSport, but everybody always says he is one of the biggest talents in the country,” said Walters of his team-mate. “He could be one of the greats, and now is his time to show everyone and himself what he is capable of.”

With Komphela off to a winning start at United in the most encouraging fashion, confidence among the squad will be high moving into this Tuesday’s Harry Gwala clash against Kaizer Chiefs.

“He [Komphela] is all about motivation. He works a lot on the mentality of the players and our concentration levels,” said Walters.

“We’re with him. We know that he can make us more united and more of a team.”

Tuesday’s clash kicks off at 7.30 pm, and tickets can be purchased for R60 (adults) and R20 (children) from the club offices in Victoria Road as well as at selected Shoprite Checkers, OK Mini Mart and Supersave stores.

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