United still hunting for more points

2018-04-25 06:00
It was all smiles for Andrea Fileccia and Bandile Shandu as Maritzburg United beat Baroka in Polokwane at the weekend to secure a top-eight finish in the Absa Premiership. Next up for them is a Nedbank Cup fixture against Sundowns at Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday.PHOTO: gallo images

It was all smiles for Andrea Fileccia and Bandile Shandu as Maritzburg United beat Baroka in Polokwane at the weekend to secure a top-eight finish in the Absa Premiership. Next up for them is a Nedbank Cup fixture against Sundowns at Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday.PHOTO: gallo images

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AMBITIOUS Maritzburg United coach Fadlu Davids has urged his impressive men to keep their foot on the gas despite them having achieved their target of a finish in the top half of the Absa Premiership standings.

The Team of Choice reached a club record 42 points, and guaranteed themselves a top-eight position, by stunning Baroka 2-0 on their own patch on Sunday with memorable goals from young midfielders Bandile Shandu and Siphesihle Ndlovu.

With three league games left until the curtain comes down on what has been an exciting season on May 12, the local club are intact in third place, nine points above ninth-placed Baroka.

But the ever-focused Davids wants his players to continue their hunt for maximum points from the remaining league games and try to upset star-studded Mamelodi Sundowns in the semi-finals of the money-filled Nedbank Cup at Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday.

“What the players have achieved is to secure the top eight. I think 42 points should do, and that’s a fantastic achievement for the club. It’s the highest ever for the club and that is what we are celebrating, before focusing on Sundowns,’’ he said.

While Davids has transformed the Midlands club into one of the league’s in-form teams and will take much pride from their recent success, what is in store for them in coming weeks is quite daunting.

Although he had reason to be impressed with his youthful crop who continue to exceed expectation, he refused to dwell on Sunday’s result, as he believed they created enough chances to win the match with a bigger score.

Davids went on to say that this was something his side would be focusing on prior to Sundowns’ visit to the city.

“I think it was a well-structured game against Baroka. They [his players] stuck to the plan. It was a game where you had to keep your thinking strong for 90 minutes and not switch off because they can punish you at any moment. Yes, I’m happy with the clean sheet, but I definitely think we could have scored five or six goals with all the chances we created. But we take it and now concentrate fully on Sundowns.”

He added: “I’ve told them [players] that if we repeat the mistakes we made against Baroka, Sundowns will punish us. There come moments where you have to kill off the game, manage the game. But overall, I’m proud of the players to be able to go there and get all three points.

It’s not easy because Baroka is a fantastic team, well structured. So credit to the players.”

After the Cup assignment against Sundowns, the local club will have to quickly re-focus their attention on the Premiership where they will be again tasked with a challenging job to stop the former African champions from running away with league honours next Wednesday, also on home soil.

Meanwhile, Maritzburg are running a ticket special for their fans at the club’s offices in Victoria Road in the city.

Those who purchase tickets for the league and knockout fixtures against Sundowns together will receive a club-branded T-shirt for free on a first-come-first-serve basis, while stocks last.

Tickets for the Cup game can also be purchased at TicketPro outlets, SuperSave in Retief Street, OK shop in College Road and Just Build in Taylors Halt at R60 for adults and R15 for children under 12.

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