Maritzburg back to winning ways

Maritzburg United recorded their first win in the Absa Premiership since the opening day of the season when they defeated 10-man Mpumalanga Black Aces 2-0 at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday evening.

An early blitz from the Team of Choice, who scored twice through Ayanda Nkosi and Mario Booysen within the first 10 minutes, as well as a red card for AmaZayoni after just half an hour of play, effectively settled the destination of the three points.

Maritzburg got off to a flying start and opened the scoring in just the fourth minute of the match. A simple long ball saw debutant Ayanda Nkosi spring the offside trap, hold off a challenge from Omar Hendricks and calmly finish past goalkeeper Bafana Nhlapo.

Just three minutes later the Team of Choice doubled their advantage. A cross was floated into the penalty area from a free kick and Mario Booysen got between two Aces defenders to power home a towering header.

On 14 minutes Nkosi almost scored a third goal for the hosts. A long diagonal ball sent striker Yakubu Mohammed free down the left, he in turn picked out a great cross to find Nkosi, but the youngster’s first-time shot was well saved by Nhlapo.

Ten minutes later Ofentse Nato almost pulled one back for AmaZayoni with a superbly struck long range effort, but Shu-Aib Walters showed his class in tipping the ball over the crossbar for a corner kick.

On the half hour mark things went from bad to worse for Aces. The visitors seemed to be gaining a foothold in the game, but were suddenly reduced to 10 men when midfielder Sandile Zuke was shown a straight red card for a studs-up, two-footed challenge on Michael Morton.

Despite being a man down, Aces should have halved the deficit early in the second half. A corner kick was flicked-on at the near post and fell kindly for Eduardo Ferreira, but the Brazilian centre-back directed his close-range effort over the target.

Aces’ task was made even harder around the hour mark when the number printed on the back of striker Mabhuti Khenyeza’s shirt flapped off. The match officials refused to allow him to re-join play until the visitors’ technical bench drew his number back on with a marker. As a result, Aces played the better part of 10 minutes with just nine men.

Substitute Thabang Mathuka should have made it 3-0 with just over a quarter hour to play, as he found himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper in the penalty area, but Nhlapo made a fine block to keep the score line respectable.

Maritzburg United (2) 2 (Nkosi 4’, M. Booysen 7’)

MP Black Aces 0

Teams:

Maritzburg: Walters, Evans, Johannes, M. Booysen, Cloete, Mkhize, De Jongh, Morton (Awal 85’), Nkosi (Mandaza 64’), Hartog, Mohammed (Mathuka 54’)

Aces: Nhlapo, Mabaso, Ferreira, Mwanjale, Hendricks, Qalinge (Tukane 78’), Zuke, Zwane (Mtsweni 89’), Nato, Nale (Ngobeni 70’), Khenyeza