DURBAN – It rained goals in KwaMashu on Tuesday night as Maritzburg United beat Cape Town City 4-2 to end their win drought and register their third Absa Premiership success of the season.
The sides made a mockery of the recent spree of goalless games with all-out entertaining play that rewarded attacking initiative.
Four second-half goals from Maritzburg – five if the own goal for City is counted – engineered their comeback to form after City threatened to run away with the game early on.
Under soft rains and a greasy turf, the sides put in an enterprising performance.
City came into the clash in fourth place – eyeing another win to keep pace with the early front-runners – and Maritzburg were desperate to score, let alone register a win, following an 11-game run without victory.
The game got off to a cracker. City defender Robyn Johannes conceded a free kick against Mohau Mokate, and Maritzburg defender Bevan Fransman drilled in a grounder which was parried by Shu-aib Walters.
It was end-to-end action, with winger Craig Martin gobbling up space on the right flank whenever Deolin Mekoa was not busy for Maritzburg on that side.
Martin almost fashioned the opener when he dribbled into the box, but his shot hit a defender and was cleared.
Even with Maritzburg’s barren run – they hadn’t scored in their last eight outings – a goal was on the cards.
So, it was little surprise when Sibusiso Masina headed in Ayanda Patosi’s 17th-minute corner for City’s lead, which they carried into the interval.
The Team of Choice last had their own player score in the league in late August when Evans Rusike’s double downed Ajax Cape Town.
Desperate to break their duck, Maritzburg coach Fadlu Davids went for broke and started the second period with a double change.
Attacking duo Rusike and Siphesihle Ndlovu replaced defender Denis Weidlich and out-of-sorts playmaker Yazid Atouba respectively, and the move paid off handsomely.
Defender Pogiso Sanoka finished from inside the box after Mekoa’s corner wasn’t cleared to level in the 54th minute.
City should have been 2-0 up by then, but Maritzburg goalkeeper Richard Ofori pulled off a blinder to deny Masina from tap-in range.
Riding their luck and working their socks off, the Midlands men stormed into a 3-1 lead by the 70th minute courtesy of a Mokate double.
Both strikes were close-range finishes as he buried crosses into the box from Lebohang Maboe and Bandile Shandu.
Ndlovu deserved credit for his role in providing the cutting edge Maritzburg lacked earlier.
As if there wasn’t enough excitement, Fransman headed in an own goal off City substitute Lyle Lakay’s cross two minutes from time.
It gave City hope of a comeback, but Maritzburg’s marauding attack rewarded them with another goal as Ndlovu finished off neat work from Mekoa in optional time to kill off the game.