United back to face old foes

2013-04-23 00:00

AFTER a weekend off, Maritzburg United are back in PSL action tonight when they travel to Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium in Pretoria for a date with their old foe — SuperSport United.

The match was due to take place at the weekend, but was postponed due to SuperSport’s involvement in the CAF Confederations Cup.

This means that both sides are in the enviable position of having seen what happened at the weekend. For Maritzburg, that was enough to know that victory tonight will take them to fourth place on the log with just four rounds of fixtures remaining. More importantly, victory would take them four points clear of the University of Pretoria in ninth place, making the desired top eight finish this season a real possibility.

But it is easier said than done. This is, after all, the same SuperSport side that came back from a goal down to break the hearts of the Team of Choice with a 2-1 Nedbank Cup quarter-final victory less than two weeks ago. That was the 15th straight match played between the sides that Maritzburg have failed to win.

But Maritzburg coach Ernst Middendorp has said numerous times this season that his is a side that believes. And performances throughout the campaign have suggested that when they get it right, Maritzburg can challenge any team — home or away — in the country.

Rheece Evans is still suspended following his sending off in the loss to SuperSport, while Maritzburg have been boosted by the news that both Heinrich Isaacks and Mohamed Awal travelled with the squad yesterday. A decision on the pair’s availability for the match will only be made today, though.

Awal’s availability is of major importance, with the coach labeling the Ghanaian’s contribution as crucial to Maritzburg’s chances of dominating defensively.

Awal is expected to start alongside Mario Booysen in central defence while Peter Petersen and Thabang Matuka are the prime candidates for the fullback positions.

Michael Morton, Ruben Cloete and Delron Buckley should operate together in a three-pronged central midfield system behind Zimbabwean striker Cuthbert Malajila, while Orlando Smeekes, Isaacks and Terrance Mandaza should fight it out for a position on the right of midfield opposite Dillon Sheppard.

The match kicks off at 7.30 pm and will be televised on SuperSport Four.

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