Absa Premiership

Maritzburg beat Leopards to keep survival hopes alive

Eric Tinkler (Gallo Images)
Eric Tinkler (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Bottom-of-the-table Maritzburg United secured a precious 2-1 victory at fellow strugglers Black Leopards to keep their slim survival hopes alive in the Absa Premiership.

While the victory did not lift The Team of Choice out of bottom spot in the table, it did see them secure three valuable points and move to within striking distance of their nearest rivals, giving themselves a chance of surviving the drop come the end of the season.

United now have 23 points, one behind Chippa United, two adrift of Baroka and three shy of Leopards, who remain in danger of relegation along with Free State Stars on 26 points.

All three goals in Saturday's clash at the Thohoyandou Stadium came in the second half, after a quiet opening period.

Siphesihle Ndlovu probably had the best chance for Maritzburg in the 35th minute after breaking free inside the box, but his close-range shot was saved by Leopards goalkeeper King Ndlovu.

It took the visitors just two minutes into the second half to break the deadlock, however, as Fortune Makaringe created the opening for Mohau Mokate, who had the beating of Ndlovu on this occasion.

And there was joy for the Eric Tinkler and the Maritzburg bench just five minutes later as Pirates-bound Makaringe managed to force an own goal from Leopards defender Jean Munganga to put his side 2-0 up.

Leopards refused to go down without a fight, however, and managed to pull one back in the 64th minute through the PSL's leading goal scorer Mwape Musonda, who netted his 15th of the season in the Premiership.

That goal prompted Tinkler to go on the defensive, substituting Allen Kateregga for defender Rushine De Reuck, in order to protect their lead, and the move paid off, as Maritzburg held on for a victory that could end up rescuing their lackluster season.

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