Durban - Supersport United made the most of their new home territory as they squeezed a first league win when they beat Maritzburg United 1-0 at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Pretoria side's next two games are in Durban, which made Wednesday night's affair the start of a three-game run in KwaZulu-Natal. They host Free State Stars in uMlazi on Saturday and then tackle Golden Arrows on Wednesday.
For all the set-piece threats that the visitors posed, their goal ironically came from a quick get-away two minutes before the break.
Supersport snuffed out a Maritzburg free-kick and veteran midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane spied youngster Aubrey Modiba in a field of green. With goalkeeper Virgil Vries haring out of his box in a vain attempt to thwart the danger, Modiba fed winger Thuso Phala who scored one of the easiest goals of his career.
It was Maritzburg's first goal conceded in three games since they unveiled their remodelled defence after last season's disastrous campaign, and the first strike for Supersport in the league.
Until then it was a fairly balanced affair as the teams felt each other out. Supersport dominated the set-plays where the big boys from defence, Mario Booysen and Morgan Gould, lent extra weight to Kiwi striker Jeremy Brockie's brawn.
They might have profited too had Vries not denied Letsholonyane, and then Phala off the resultant corner in the 23rd minute. Modiba also had two efforts near the start and end of the opening period which flashed wide of goals.
It wasn't all one way traffic. The home side, backed by a decent crowd after a win and a draw in their opening two games, were promising from open play whenever they got through on the flanks.
Striker Evans Rusike had two attempts to beat Ronwen Williams, first dragging a shot wide and then skying a near post flick, before winger Abia Nale forced a first save from Williams with a low shot.
It was all Maritzburg in the second half, save for the odd counter-attack from the visitors. Eager to open their win account, Supersport stood firm in defence and soaked up the pressure applied by the fresh legs of Sheldon van Wyk and latterly Bryce Moon.
It was pretty much a duel between Van Wyk and Kiwi defender Michael Boxall. The nippy winger pulled out his bag of tricks, twists and turns of pace but was boxed off with captain Dean Furman tracking back from midfield to aid Boxall.
Olympic winger Deolin Mekoa had a few touches but faded as the game drew to a close. The result broke Maritzburg's promising start and will serve as something of a wake up for striker Rusike and fellow attackers ahead of the weekend's trip to Kaizer Chiefs.