United still upbeat after defeat

2009-09-22 00:00

MARITZBURG United might have had the wind taken out of their sails by a 4-2 home defeat to Bloemfontein Celtic last week, but not enough to prevent them aiming for a point from their tough Premier Soccer League game away to Ajax Cape Town at Newlands tomorrow.

The scoreline against Celtic might have been demoralising, but the manner in which the PMB team had fought back from 2-0 down to 2-2 at the break, before capitulating after goalkeeper Brenden Wardle was sent off in the 51st minute, would have left United still in confident mood.

“Playing with 10 men was always going to be difficult,” coach Gordon Igesund said yesterday. “We put in a fantastic performance to fight back from 2-0 down and we were well on top. We wanted to come out in the second half with the same impetus and playing the same free-flowing game.

“We had Celtic on the wrack — I could imagine what they were saying in their change-room, and how they must have been ranting about giving away a two-goal lead.

“Then minutes into the second half we had our ’keeper sent off, we gave away two quick goals, and that was the end of the game.”

It is rare to see teams fight back from 2-0 down within the first 15 minutes to equalise by half time, let alone the full 90 minutes. The manner in which United overwhelmed Celtic in that half-hour period confirmed the attacking potential United have shown this season.

“We’ve had a week to put the result behind us and work on the players’ confidence in training,” Igesund said. “We’ll be going to Cape Town in positive mood, though given what a difficult trip it always is I’ll be happy to get one point. But we will be trying to get something out of the game.”

Wardle is United’s only enforced absentee and Tashrique Goldman will take his place between the posts. Byron Hendricks returned to full training from his hamstring injury yesterday and should be available.

Musa Nyatama is back from suspension.

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