United have the edge

2012-02-18 00:00

PSL football is back at the Harry Gwala stadium. Maritzburg United, fresh from an encouraging 0-0 draw against Wits in midweek, host Ajax Cape Town tomorrow in a match that coach Ernst Middendorp will want maximum points from.

Ajax arrive in Pietermaritzburg in sixth place on the PSL log after performing below expectations so far this season.

The Urban Warriors will be buoyed by their come-from-behind 3-2 win over Platinum Stars on Wednesday night, but the head-to-head stats between the two sides are clearly in favour of United.

The last time Ajax won in Pietermaritzburg was in 2007 and United have taken maximum points from their last three home meetings with the Western Cape outfit.

When the sides met in Cape Town during this season’s first round of fixtures, it was a late Fadlu Davids equaliser that rescued a point for the Team of Choice in the second in a run of seven undefeated matches for the club.

United fans can take heart from their team’s defensive display against Wits, where the familiar centre-back pairing of Mor Diouf and Byrone Hendricks kept their fifth clean sheet of the season.

Goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters was also impressive in that match, and he will be looking for another solid performance from the four men in front of him to enhance his chances of returning to the Bafana Bafana setup.

Middendorp will have a fully fit squad of players to choose from, with the only omission being Nigerian winger Felix Obada, who is out suspended.

Calvin Sosibo remains on the long-term injury list.

United are in 11th position on the table, just seven points behind Ajax, and victory today would enhance their credentials as top-eight candidates, which chairperson Farouk Kadodia has highlighted to Middendorp as the side’s goal for the remainder of the season.

Perhaps more importantly, though, United find themselves six points clear of Golden Arrows in 12th place and seem to be doing enough to ensure that an all-too-familiar relegation battle will not play out at Harry Gwala this season.

Tomorrow’s match kicks off at 3.30 pm and will be televised on SuperSport Four.

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