Larsen: We're more desperate than Arrows

2009-02-19 00:00

MARITZBURG United were unlucky to lose against Lamontville Golden Arrows in the first round of the Premier Soccer League (PSL), and believe they can turn the tables when the teams meet again at Chatsworth Stadium tomorrow.

United lost 1-0 against Arrows at Woodburn Stadium on November 5. Richard Henyekane scored the winner with virtually the visitors’ lone chance while United missed a string of opportunities and had a legitimate goal disallowed.

Arrows were riding high at the top of the league then but, with the goals drying up from top scorer Henyekane, have won just twice in 11 games and plunged to ninth position.

United assistant coach Clinton Larsen believes that, with the PMB team having won three out of their last six, they stand a decent chance against Arrows tomorrow.

“We’re not looking at Arrows’ form because we know they are capable of bouncing back and producing the ball-playing style they are known for. But we feel that last time our gameplan worked against Arrows, and we are a stronger team now than we were then,” Larsen said yesterday.

“Our confidence is on a high and there’s a really good spirit. We’re really looking forward to this one and feel we have what it takes to get the better of Arrows this time.”

United received a blow this week when striker Lebohang Kukame broke his leg in a car accident on Monday morning. The player, who was starting to find his form, will be out for six months.

“In the last game against AmaZulu [won 2-1 by United] Lebo was one of our outstanding players.

He got his first 90-minute game and ran from whistle to whistle,” Larsen said.

“But we know what Fadlu Davids can do, and with Brice Aka and Collen Zimba both scoring against AmaZulu we should be covered at striker.

“With Fadlu and Sipho Mngomezulu returning from suspension, and Bageta Dikilu back from an injury, we have a pleasant headache on who to leave out.”

The midweek PSL results have emphasised the need for third-last United to continue improving in form. Second-last Bloemfontein Celtic thrashed Moroka Swallows, who had won five in a row, 4-1 at home, while Thanda Royal Zulu, who are a point ahead of United, were routed 6-2 by Wits University in Johannesburg.

“It’s typical of the way the season’s gone — the results have been so unpredictable,” Larsen said. “That’s why the league is so tight in the middle and at the top and bottom.

“We need to try and win two in a row — we haven’t done that this season yet, which is why we’re in the position we’re in. Then we need to try and make it three, and then we’ll start to move away from the danger zone.”

Chatsworth has been a good venue for United this season, having beaten Kaizer Chiefs and AmaZulu there.

“We’ve played three there and won two, so it’s almost been like a home ground. But we know Arrows play there too, so it will be like a neutral venue,” Larsen said.

“It will probably come down to who’s hungrier, and right now I think we’re a little more desperate than them. They know their title hopes have all but disappeared and we really want to get out of relegation danger.”

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