DURBAN – It never rains but pours for Maritzburg United as they succumbed to a 2-0 defeat against Lamontville Golden Arrows at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Sunday.
Abafana Bes’thende reigned supreme as they collected the maximum in a very pulsating KZN Premiership derby.
It was more miserable for United.
The Team of Choice were hoping to get off in to a flying start under the tutelage of Muhsin Ertugral. The Turkish took over the reigns two weeks ago from Fadlu Davids.
He was up against Steve Komphela, who is also new at the helm for Arrows, having joined the club two weeks ago following the departure of Clinton Larsen.
Komphela was tactically spot-on. His team showed more hunger and aggression. Knox Mutizwa broke the deadlock as early as the ninth minute when he produced a fine header to beat Richard Ofori between the sticks.
He was pinpointed by Danny Venter on the left-hand side.
Arrows almost doubled their lead, but Ofori pulled off a fantastic save to deny Venter who unleashed a thunderbolt from distance.
Abafana Bes’thende controlled the pace of the game by playing with fluidity and finesse, as Venter was causing all sorts of problems for the Team of Choice.
Mutizwa should have doubled his side’s lead after 21 minutes following an error of misjudgement by Siyanda Xulu.
Ofori made a magnificent save, and United were lucky not to concede the second goal.
Abafana Bes’thende finally increased their lead three minutes into the second stanza. Joao Moreira came off the bench for the injured Mutizwa, and made an instant impact as he received a killer pass from Lerato Lamola to finish with aplomb.
Arrows were reduced to 10 men when Wade Jooste received his marching orders follow a reckless tackle on Keletso Makgwala.
Ertugral took off Siphesihle Ndlovu and Andrea Fileccia in his attempt to snatch the equaliser, and introduced Makgwala and Pogiso Senoka.
Arrows were resolute at the back and didn’t give United any room to penetrate them. They were compact in the middle of the park.
Komphela’s next assignment is against his former team, Bloemfontein Celtic, at Dr Molemela Stadium in the Free State.
On the other hand, United – who are still languishing at the foot of the table with 11 points after 15 games – have tasted victory once this season.
They will welcome Free State Stars at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday at 7.30pm.@Minenhlecr7