United claim bragging rights as they outplay Usuthu in KZN derby

2013-10-28 00:00

A SUPERB second-half performance saw Maritzburg United beat AmaZulu 2-0 in a Premiership KZN derby played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban yesterday.

Two second-half goals — an own-goal by Marc van Heerden and a sublime lob over the keeper by the impressive Thokozani Sekotlong — secured the points and the bragging rights for the Team of Choice who were missing skipper Michael Morton through suspension.

The win sees United move into sixth place on the log, one above an AmaZulu side who have now conceded 11 goals in their last three league games, and scored just one.

Had Ghanaian striker Mohammed Yakubu had his shooting boots on, the scoreline could have been even more embarrassing for the home team in a game where they were outplayed in all departments.

Usuthu themselves had a host of opportunities to get on the scoreboard. But in a game characterised by poor finishing, both goalkeepers were left with relatively little to do.

The first half was a ding-dong affair as both sides seemed to have an equal amount of time on the ball.

It was in fact Craig Rosslee’s men that started off the blocks quickest. With just two minutes on the board, fullback Van Heerden made a run down the left flank to cross for former Buccaneer Bongani Ndulula, but the ball failed to reach the striker’s feet as it was blocked by Shu-Aib Walters who was given the armband in the absence of Morton.

Both sides — with AmaZulu looking the better side at times — had chances to take the lead in the first half, but none came as close as van Heerden who saw his low free-kick parried away by Walters in the 37th minute of the game.

The second half started in the best way possible for Clinton Larsen’s men as a typical run by Sekotlong saw the ball land on the feet of Yakubu in the box. The striker turned and shot at goal, but as it seemed as his shot was going wide, Van Heerden got the final touch to beat his captain Tapuwa Kapini.

The boys from Durban seemed to wake up after United’s goal as they immediately went on attack looking for an equaliser, but they found the defensive backbone of Mario Booysen and Mohammed Awal impossible to penetrate.

Sekotlong, who had been dangerous all afternoon made it 2-0 in the 60th minute when he received a pass from a Ryan de Jongh, who seemed to have all the time in the world. The former University of Pretoria striker, who was left unmarked in the box, picked his spot over the keeper to give United the two goal cushion.

With the game opening up as United chased a third, Sithembiso Ngcobo, on loan from Kaizer Chiefs, should have got one back for Usuthu in the 81st minute, but he didn’t seem to connect the ball properly when he found himself one on one with Walters.

Yakubu twice found himself with space in the box in stoppage time, but both shots were wide. In the end, United had to settle for a 2-0 win and brought the three points back to Pietermaritzburg.

In unsavoury scenes at the end, AmaZulu keeper Kapini, who has conceded 11 goals in the last three games, was reduced to tears after he had been pelted with vuvuzelas and water bottles as he walked off the pitch.

• lunga.biyela@witness.co.za

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