Maritzburg face Chiefs eyeing top spot

Maritzburg United will play host to Kaizer Chiefs in an Absa Premiership clash at Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday evening, with the hosts aiming to extend their unbeaten start to the season.

Kick-off is at 7:30pm CAT.

The Team of Choice stretched their unbeaten run in the league to four games in aftermath of a goalless draw at home to Orlando Pirates this past weekend. The KwaZulu-Natal outfit have only shipped one goal thus far, as they head into the midweek round of fixtures in second spot on the log standings.

Fadlu Davids’ troops kicked-off their campaign with back-to-back wins over Platinum Stars and Ajax Cape Town, and will be hoping to make a return to their winning habits with victory over the Amakhosi.

Chiefs, though, pose a significant threat to an ambitious Maritzburg outfit, with the Glamour Boys eager to return to winning ways following a 1-1 draw at home to defending champions Bidvest Wits.

The Clever Boys were reduced to 10-men in the first half, but showed grit and determination to finally pull level in second-half stoppage time, to the dismay of the Chiefs faithful.

Guilty of conceding late goals on regular occasions last season, Chiefs let old frailties come to light once more as they failed to capitalise on their win over an in-form Cape Town City outfit.

Nonetheless, coach Steve Komphela has seen his side pick up a respectable four points from two away matches and he will hope for another positive result on the road, especially against his former employers.

When the teams met last season, Chiefs claimed a league ‘double’ by winning 2-0 in Soweto and 2-1 in the return game in Pietermaritzburg. The Amakhosi are unbeaten in their last four league matches against United and have won the last three in succession.

Predicted Starting 11:

Maritzburg United: Ofori, Sanoka, Xulu, Fransman, Weidlich, Shandu, Mekoa, Mokate , Maboe, Kunene, Rusike.

Kaizer Chiefs: Khune, Moleko, Gordinho, Cardoso, Zulu, Katsande, Maluleka, Jayiya, Meyiwa, Tshabalala, Paez

Head-to-Head

LAST 10 LEAGUE RESULTS

Season Result Scorers

2012/13 Maritzburg 1-1 Chiefs Mandaza; Majoro

2012/13 Chiefs 1-1 Maritzburg Mathoho; M. Booysen

2013/14 Chiefs 2-0 Maritzburg Musona, Lebese

2013/14 Maritzburg 2-2 Chiefs De Jongh, Jayiya (pen); Nkhatha, Mashamaite

2014/15 Chiefs 1-0 Maritzburg Masango

2014/15 Maritzburg 1-0 Chiefs Banda

2015/16 Maritzburg 1-1 Chiefs Lentjies (pen); Letsholonyane

2015/16 Chiefs 3-2 Maritzburg Katsande (pen), Abraw, Gordinho; Teyise, Rusike

2016/17 Chiefs 2-0 Maritzburg Gordinho, Twala

2016/17 Maritzburg 1-2 Chiefs Mokate; Katsande, Tshabalala

LEAGUE RECORD (since 2005/06)

Home

P W D L GF GA

Maritzburg 11 3 5 3 12 15

Chiefs 11 7 2 2 19 7

Away

P W D L GF GA

Maritzburg 11 2 2 7 7 19

Chiefs 11 3 5 3 15 12

Total

P W D L GF GA

Maritzburg 22 5 7 10 19 34

Chiefs 22 10 7 5 34 19

What They Said:

Maritzburg United head coach Fadlu Davids

“They [Chiefs] are back, they are a fantastic side. I think they are back to their best.

“They didn’t get the results in the first few games, but I think they’ll come into Wednesday’s game with confidence.

”It’s a huge blow [being without the suspended Siphesihle Ndlovu] , we will miss him, but we have options coming through and we’ll be okay.”

Kaizer Chiefs head coach Steve Komphela

“I was just disappointed at how we conceded [against Wits], looking at the clock as well and the threat was clear, and just before that happened we stood out on the bench trying to give an indication of where the threat was and the message could not go to the players in time.

“Maritzburg, very difficult. We saw them, they just played Orlando Pirates [0-0 draw last Friday] and they are on top of the log with eight points. It is not by accident.

“Compliments must be given to Fadlu Davids as well and their team. They are quite quick coming out. Three centre-backs, you are going to have Denis Weidlich, Bevan Fransman and our own [Siyanda] Xulu there.

Key Battles:

Goalkeepers Itumeleng Khune and Richard Ofori are integral to their respective teams’ cause this season, with Bafana Bafana No 1, Khune, proving his worth to the Amakhosi with man-of-the-match displays in his last two outings.

The onus will thus fall on the strikers, with Gustavo Paez eager to get his season up and running. On the opposite end of the pitch, Evans Rusike is hot property, but will have to be at his best to beat an inspired Khune, who not only commands his penalty area, but ignites counter-attacks with extreme precision.

Siphiwe Tshabalala’s importance, though, can’t be overlooked and Chiefs will call on the former Bafana Bafana ace to lead their charge.