|Evans Rusike © Gallo Images
Maritzburg United earned a much needed win after beating Free State Stars 1-0 in an Absa Premiership match at Goble Park in Bethlehem on Tuesday night.
The win sees bottomed-placed Martizburg up to 20 points, joint with 15th-placed Cosmos but having played a game more.
The result leaves Free State in ninth place with 33 points.
The away team started the better of the two sides with Evans Rusike trying his luck from roughly 20 yards out in the ninth minute, but his effort was superbly saved by Johnny Mathole.
Four minutes later Maritzburg made their early pressure tell when Sheldon Van Wyk turned home a cross from Rusike to give the Team of Choice the lead.
Stars tried to find their way back into the match and came close to drawing the scores level on the half hour mark, but Paulos Masehe saw his 18-yard shot brilliantly saved by Maritzburg’s goalkeeper.
Maritzburg did suffer a bit of a setback two minutes before the break when Bandile Shandu had to leave the field injured and was replaced by David Booysen.
The second half was a bit of a scrappy affair with both teams struggling to create decent goal-scoring chances.
The closest the game came to a goal in the second half was in the 75th minute when Danny Venter fired a 24-yard free-kick narrowly over the crossbar.
The most exciting action in the second half was the sending off of Maritzburg’s Pogiso Sanoka in the 82nd minute after receiving a second yellow card.
Maritzburg defended stoically in the final minutes of the game to earn the win.
Free State Stars (0) 0
Maritzburg (1) 1 (Van Wyk 13’)
Free State: Mathole, Masehe, Mashego (Sekola 73’), Kerspuy, Thlone, Makhaula, Japhta (Ngcobo 85’), Chabalala, Nkosi, Mohomi, Venter (Nkausu 85’).
Maritzburg:Vries, Teyise, Mogapi, Onyango, Shandu (Booysen 43’), Sanoka, Van Wyk (Anas 56’), Lentjies (Mkhize 85’), Rusike, Mngonyama, Zulu.