Late Mathebula strike downs Maritzburg

David Mathebula scored a late winner as SuperSport United edged Maritzburg United 1-0 in an Absa Premiership encounter at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday night.

Both sides had opportunities to take the lead throughout the match but in the end it was the visitors who stole maximum points in the closing stages as Mathebula’s effort picked up a deflection on its way to the back of the net.

The hosts threatened as early as the 4th minute when Yakubu Mohammed received the ball on the turn on the left side of the box, but his shot was deflected wide by Bevan Fransman.

From the resulting corner, Dillon Sheppard found Rheece Evans unmarked in the centre of penalty area, but the fullback directed his powerful header straight at Ronwen Williams.

Then in the 10th minute Thokozani Sekotlong played a brilliant diagonal ball to find Robyn Johannes on the left side of the box, but the central defender rushed his cross-cum-shot wide of the far post.

Seven minutes later it was the away side who had their first chance of the match when Thuso Phala was gifted possession on the left, but the winger blasted his shot over the crossbar.

Phala had an even better opportunity in the 35th minute when he twisted and turned to lose his marker on the left side of the box, but he was denied by a brilliant save by Shu-aib Walters.

From the resulting corner, Enocent Mkhabela rose high to meet Phala’s delivery in the centre of the box, but his header flew just wide of the upright.

The home side had two late chances to take the lead before the break, but Mohammed dragged his shot wide in the 40th minute, before sending a tame effort straight at Williams two minutes later.

Matsatsantsa started the second half brightly with Bradley Grobler just failing to connect with Thabo Moloi’s cross in the 51st minute, while Phala was denied a shot at goal by a well-timed tackle by Evans a minute later.

Phala continued to trouble the hosts in the 53rd minute when he cut in from the left before drilling a low shot towards the target, but Walters got down quickly to make a comfortable save.

The hosts had their first chance of the second half just after the hour mark when Sekotlong latched onto a through-pass from Ryan De Jongh on the right side of the box, only to blast his shot wide of the near post.

In the 74th minute, SuperSport were then awarded a freekick in a central position on the edge of the penalty area, but Grobler blasted his shot wide of the top right corner.

Five minutes later Bennet Chenene made a good run towards the near post to meet Moloi’s cross with a looping header, but Walters was able to pluck the ball off the air.

Mohammed came close to breaking the deadlock in the 82nd minute when he ran onto a long ball from Mohammed Awal, but his dipping shot clipped the top of the crossbar.

The visitors took the lead a minute later when George Maluleka skipped past Awal on the left side of the box before finding the unmarked Mathebula, who beat Walters with a deflected strike from the centre of the box.

Clinton Larsen’s men had one last opportunity to rescue a point from the match in the third minute of added time but Dillon Sheppard’s header was cleared off the line by substitute Roscoe Pietersen.

The result moves SuperSport to second place on the log with 14 points, while Maritzburg remain in ninth place with eight points.

Maritzburg United (0) 0

SuperSport United (0) 1 (Mathebula 83’)

Teams:

Maritzburg United: Walters, Matuka, Awal, Johannes (Booysen M 25’), Morton, De Jongh, Evans, Sarfo Gyamfi (Smeekes 65’), Sheppard, Sekotlong (Buckley 72’), Yakubu

SuperSport United: Williams, Moloi, Fransman, Gabonamong, Khumalo, Mkhabela, Maluleka (Pietersen 89’), Phala, Doutie (Chenene 72’), Mathebula, Grobler (Niang 79’)