Maritzburg failed to deal with a second ball, and Free State Stars’ Sinethemba Jantjie unleashed a thunderbolt to beat Richard Ofori hands down. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

PIETERMARITZBURG – They may have a different coach, but it was a familiar result for Maritzburg United on Wednesday night as they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Free State Stars.

It was a second defeat in Muhsin Ertugral’s tenure at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg.

Ertugral joined the Team of Choice in place of Fadlu Davids in December to change things, but they are getting worse.

In his first game this past weekend, they were shot down by Lamontville Golden Arrows at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium.

It was another lacklustre performance by the Team of Choice. Their next assignment is against Mamelodi Sundowns away next week Wednesday, and they have to pull up their socks and be at their best if they are hopeful of coming out with something in Pretoria.

Keletso Makgwala was the livewire for Maritzburg with his pace and silky skills, but lacked support.

Ertugral made three changes to the team that lost against Arrows this past weekend. 

Makgwala, Pogiso Senoka and Denwin Farmer replaced Siphesihle Ndlovu, Thato Tlhone and Bandile Shandu.

Yusuf Jappie almost broke the deadlock after 14 minutes after an error by Brian Onyango, who did well to save his blushes.

Onyango made an important goal-line clearance to keep Stars at bay on the 30-minute mark after Jappie profited from Ofori’s rebound.

Mobbie Nyiko whipped in a low cross and Ofori paried the ball into the path of Jappie, who thought he had broken the deadlock. But he was denied by Onyango. 

Jappie was the main antagonist for the Team of Choice. He also came close to giving Stars the lead just before the interval with a decent curling free kick.

Stars were the better team in the first half and created better goal-scoring opportunities.

United lacked that attacking fluidity as they made a few box entries, but they were lucky to go to halftime leading by Deolin Mekoa’s strike. He netted a beauty before the interval.

Makhehleni Makhawula should have restored parity minutes into the second half, but fluffed a glorious opportunity as he directed his attempt off target.

It was easy to score than to miss, with Patrick Phungwayo having delivered a quality cross.

Katlego Mokhuoane finally levelled the matters with a back-heeled finish, following a great run made by Nyiko Mobbie, who found Jappie – he tried to tap it in, but the ball deflected off Siyanda Xulu and fell to Mokhuoane, who showed good composure to beat Ofori.

Seven minutes later, Sinethemba Jantjie came off the bench and netted the winner with a stunner. Maritzburg failed to deal with a second ball, and Jantjie unleashed a thunderbolt to beat Ofori hands down.


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