Win lifts Maritzburg out of the drop zone
Crucial 3-2 victory over Golden Arrows raises team’s chances of avoiding automatic relegation or play-offs
Maritzburg United’s great escape is on. The Team of Choice pulled off a 3-2 Premier Soccer League win over Golden Arrows to get out of the relegation zone and enhance their chances of avoiding automatic relegation or the play-offs.
With this win, Maritzburg moved to 12th spot and they have a game in hand over Stellenbosch, Chippa United and Black Leopards, who are below them on the table.
There is no time for the players and coach Ernst Middendorp to dwell on this vital victory over third-placed Arrows as they have a trip to Polokwane to take on Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) on Saturday.
Arrows, who missed out on an opportunity to pull away from fourth-placed Orlando Pirates, have time to work on their deficiencies as they only return to league action against TS Galaxy on Wednesday at home.
Maritzburg opened the scoring after 15 minutes through a powerful shot by Tebogo Tlolane that gave Arrows goalkeeper Sifiso Mlungwana no chance.
A few minutes later, Maritzburg missed a glorious opportunity to increase their lead after Bongokuhle Hlongwane failed to find the target with his close range header when he connected with a cross from Thabiso Kutumela.
Maritzburg created most of the chances of the opening exchanges but the visitors also had notable attacking moments with Knox Mutizwa, Michael Gumede and Lindokuhle Mtshali on the forefront.
Maritzburg increased their lead through their live wire Kutumela when he placed his low shot into an empty net after 57 minutes for his 12th goal of the season.
A minute later, Michael Gumede pulled one back for Arrows when he sneaked between pedestrian Maritzburg defenders Clayton Daniels and Travis Graham.
Maritzburg further increased their lead through Hlongwane who rifled home a shot past Mlungwana after he was released by a short pass from Kutumela who was a constant thorn for Arrows.
There was drama in the closing stages when referee Thando Ndzandzeka pointed to the spot after Nazeer Allie handled in the box for Nduduzo Sibiya to beat Marcel Engelhardt.
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