United stay on top of standings as hail disrupts Chiefs game

2012-09-17 00:00

CALL it divine intervention if you will, but when Saturday night’s PSL clash between Kaizer Chiefs and Black Leopards was hailed out with the Soweto giants 2-0 up, nobody would have been happier than the Maritzburg United camp.

With that match now due to be replayed on Wednesday, United can enjoy a few more days at the summit of the PSL standings following their 1-1 draw with Free State Stars at Harry Gwala stadium on Friday night.

It certainly has been a dream start for the Team of Choice, but captain and goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters told The Witness that while he was thrilled with his side’s start to the campaign, there was more disappointment than elation following Friday night’s result.

“The players were very disappointed that they couldn’t hold on to the lead and win the game,” Walters said. “But it is a good thing that they are disappointed.

“The guys really believe in themselves and their abilities.”

After Mario Booysen’s 70th- minute header sent Harry Gwala into a frenzy, the home side were bombarded by an attacking Stars outfit who were level just five minutes later.

“As a team that has finished near the bottom of the log, we are chasing games more than we are in the lead,” explained Walters. “

We need to know that now we are going to be leading games, and we need to learn the composure to hold on to that lead.”

Another positive aspect to come out of United’s Friday night display was the cohesion in defence, with coach Ernst Middendorp having now started with the exact same back five in all four fixtures.

“The defence is definitely a strong point at the moment,” said Walters, who has conceded just three times in four matches. “There is not a lot of chopping and changing and the guys have adapted to one another and are growing all the time.”

As good a start as its been for United this season, memories of last season will still be fresh in supporters’ minds when they started with seven undefeated matches before a disastrous run of results saw them back in the all-too-familiar position of having relegation concerns.

But those days are in the past now, and Walters knows why.

“The experience that the team has now is the difference between this Maritzburg United and the Maritzburg United of old,” he said.

With an away fixture to Polokwane’s Black Leopards next up for United next Tuesday, Middendorp’s charges will be expected to keep their run of form up.

“It is a match that we are definitely looking at and eyeing three points from,” said the skipper.

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