Well-deserved win for United

2011-02-26 00:00

MARITZBURG United lifted some of the pressure off their shoulders with an industrious 1-0 Premier Soccer League victory over Santos at Harry Gwala Stadium last night.

It might not have been their most flowing performance against a well-organised, defensive Santos who are always a tough nut to crack, but United worked hard for their deserved victory.

They established a better attacking rhythm than they have managed to in recent matches, and finally managed to provide a finish to their good build-ups.

Felix Obada scored Maritzburg’s first goal (69th minute) in four games as United finally managed to turn home domination into a much-needed victory.

It was United’s first win in seven matches since their 3-0 home destruction of Ajax Cape Town in January, and it came at a crucial time.

The victory re-established a six-point gap with second-last Moroka Swallows, and the PMB team will have a keen eye on the result of the Birds’ meeting with Platinum Stars in Dobsonville today.

United’s win brought to an end a frustrating barren spell for the home team and one feels this was an important result for the home side.

It was earned, too, with the absence of United’s leading striker, Diyo Sibisi, and key defensive midfielder John Arwuah and the PMB team’s leading attacker, Rudolf Bester, having an off night.

Santos were reduced to 10 men when Tyren Arendse was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 71st minute, but by then Maritzburg were already a goal up and well on top of the game.

Santos are always a tough team to play against.

They’re well organised, uncompromising and hard to break down.

United, too, have not been in their most fluid form of late.

But through a mixture of determination, muscle and industriousness, the home team did manage to pry open a few chances in the first period.

Midway though the half Gert Schalkwyk’s audacious chip from 45 metres gave Santos goalkeeper Lee Langeveldt a few nervous flutters before it landed in the top netting.

A minute later Obada was burst free on the right, and his attempted cross was deflected into the side of Langeveldt’s goal.

Kurt Lentjies’s skidding shot in the 33rd minute was parried by Langeveldt, with the defence clearing just ahead of an on-rushing Gert Schalkwyk.

But it was a first half of characteristic frustration for the home team, as Christian Alder’s 40th-minute free-kick was well saved by Langeveldt.

Maritzburg managed to pick up their attacking tempo and trouble Santos more in the second half.

Five minutes in Schalkwyk’s chip picked out Lentjies on the left, who fed Bester in the middle, with the Santos defence blocking the winger’s attempt from 10 metres.

Increasingly the home side piled on the pressure as the Santos defence held on desperately.

But the wall broke in the 69th minute when a one-two between Lentjies and Obada on the right edge of the area saw the latter through, Obada sliding his finish past Langeveldt and in off the left upright.

Two minutes later the game swung more in the PMB team’s favour when United received a rare refereeing decision their way this season, as Tyren Arendse received a second yellow for a foul in Chilis Madondo, and was sent off.

From there it was plain sailing for the home side to hold on for a deserved victory.


Last night: Ajax Cape Town 1 Free State Stars 0, Maritzburg United 1 Santos 0

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