Premier Soccer League: all too familiar display by United against brilliant Brazilians

2011-01-17 00:00

MARITZBURG United never planned to take a defensive approach into their 3-0 Premier Soccer League defeat against Mamelodi Sundowns at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday, says United coach Ernst Middendorp.

United, a team blessed with attackers such as Rudolf Bester, Kurt Lentjies and Diyo Sibisi, took an all too familiar approach into their game in Pretoria and ended up with an all too familiar result against the team they have a 100% league defeat record against.

Middendorp acknowledged his side had failed to take the game to their hosts.

“No, definitely it was not the approach we had in mind to go there and work with the defence. We wanted to go in and have more forward movement, which is the way we play,” United’s coach said yesterday.

“But the performance we produced was not a confident one.

“At half-time that was the message, to become a bit more positive. But then within eight minutes they had a goal and when you have this situation against Sundowns in Pretoria, with a second goal after 15 minutes, then the game is practically over.”

After a goalless first half where the Maritzburg defence had largely held Sundowns, though without threatening the Brazilians in attack to any large degree, United were swamped in the second 45 minutes.

Franklin Cale turned United left-back Elias Ngwepe inside-out and finished smartly in the 53rd minute, before Matthew Pattison ran onto a ball into the area and rounded goalkeeper Shu-aib Walters before sliding a shot into an open goal in the 60th.

Mor Diouf’s hand-ball led to Katlego Mphela’s successful 83rd minute penalty.

Sundowns had come off defeats against AmaZulu (3-2 at home) and Kaizer Chiefs (1-0 away) to let slip a seven-point lead at the top. A further defeat and the Brazilians would have ceded the first place to Ajax Cape Town, 1-0 winners over now third-placed Kaizer Chiefs at Cape Town Stadium on Friday night.

United face Ajax at Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday night. The PMB team will need a more cohesive attack and to harass the Capetonians in a far more aggressive manner if they are to produce a competitive performance against a side playing some of the most sophisticated football in the league under coach Foppe de Haan.

With Fabian McCarthy having been released from his contract, United have been left thin in central defence, and a suspension to Diouf has left Byron Hendricks, David Booysen and John Arwuah as the options at the back against Ajax.

Arwuah, though, picked up a knock to his Achilles heel and is in a race against time to be fit for the match.

PSL roundup, results, standings, page 19.

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