Maritzburg United get confidence boost with Nedbank Cup win over Sekhukhune United
DURBAN - Maritzburg United were made to work hard but managed a hard-fought 2-1 victory over National First Division high flyers Sekhukhune United at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg.
Maritzburg used the game as an opportunity to hand a competitive debut to new goalkeeper Marcel Engelhardt, who joined the club last week from German second-tier side Eintracht Braunschweig.
Maritzburg played a first-string side and were fairly subdued in the first half, as they failed to cause much trouble to Sekhukhune goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini, who is noted for previous stints in the top-flight with Platinum Stars, AmaZulu and Highlands Park.
Maritzburg’s technical superiority over their opponents started to show in the second half as Tebogo Tlolane put the home side ahead with a left-footed strike from close range.
Sibusiso Hlubi showed his goal poaching instincts in the 69th minute to double the lead for the Team of Choice as he latched onto a cross from Daniel Morgan before tapping home.
Jose Ali Meza handed a start by Ernst Middendorp saw his goal drought continue, though the South American nearly set up a goal for teammate Tlolane in the 77th minute before the latter had his effort well-saved by Kapini who was regarded as one of the PSL’s top shot-stoppers in his younger years.
Sibusiso Mbonani pulled a goal back for Sekhukhune United in the 90th minute, but the top-flight side held on for the win.
The win will give Maritzburg a much-needed confidence boost ahead of their next DStv Premiership clash against Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg next Friday.