United earn draw in searing heat

2010-11-01 00:00

MARITZBURG United notched up their third match unbeaten on Saturday with a 0-0 Premier Soccer League draw against Platinum Stars, but coach Ernst Middendorp said the league should examine the feasibility of afternoon matches in Rustenburg after the game was played in 44°C heat.

The coach said the near-unplayable heat resulted in a mistake-riddled 90 minutes for both sides.

“I would have to say the PSL should jump in and make it at least an evening match at this venue,” Middendorp said yesterday.

“It was difficult for both teams, not just Maritzburg United. There were mistakes in the build-ups and then in the final phase as well.

“I cannot even understand why the home team would want to play in these conditions. You can’t send players out in that heat and expect them to play football. It’s at least very difficult and even dangerous.

“But I am pleased with the fighting spirit we showed and overall very happy with the team performance to get a draw away from home in these circumstances.”

Pleasing for Middendorp is that a defence that had been one of the leakiest in the league has now conceded just one goal in three games.

“We are starting the defence high now,” the coach said. “At the beginning of the season there were games where sides scored against us having nice build-ups, and then a nice cross and a nice finish, and that was not good enough.

“Now we are stepping up and beginning the defence from the front-line.”

United next play Mamelodi Sundowns in their Telkom Knockout quarter-final at Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday.

Returning to league action they face a difficult four-game programme against SuperSport United (home, next Wednesday), Santos (away, November 13), Orlando Pirates (home, November 26) and Vasco Da Gama (away, December 10).

“Which game is not tough?” Middendorp said. “Aces are winning now, Vasco have had some good results. I prefer not to look at the next four matches and suddenly we have to be scared of our programme.

“We have shown in our last three games that it is possible for us to get something out of any game. We have a squad of above average PSL players. We have to take it game by game, and try to get something from each game.”

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