Maritzburg aim to bounce back against City

Maritzburg United will be looking to bounce back when they welcome Cape Town City in the Absa Premiership on Saturday night at Harry Gwala Stadium.

Kick-off is at 8:15pm.

Despite showing a good run in the past few months in all competitions, the Team of Choice fell to Bidvest Wits in the league on Tuesday night.

Coach Fadlu Davids will push his men to bounce back from their 2-1 loss and avoid their second loss in the league as they challenge for a top three spot.

Their loss to the reigning Telkom Knockout Cup champions saw them moving to the fourth spot with 38 points.

On the part of City, coach Benni McCarthy has seen his men succumb to two consecutive losses in all competitions.

They were dispatched out of the Ke Yona competition by Mamelodi Sundowns and lost 1-0 to Golden Arrows on Wednesday night at home.

City sit at No 6 with 34 points and will keep fighting to challenge for a spot in the MTN8 Cup next season.

The Mother City outfit will also want to avoid a second loss to a side from the KwaZulu-Natal in a week, making this clash a thriller.

In the reverse fixture, Davids’ men claimed a 4-2 win at Athlone Stadium.

Previous starting XI:

Maritzburg United: Ofori, Fransman, Xulu, Shandu, De Reuck, Maboe, Ndlovu, Sanoka, Matim, Fileccia, Kunene

Cape Town City: Stephens, Dove, Mngonyama, Fielies, Mkhize, Putsche, Nodada, Lakay, Masud, Patosi, Ralani

Head-to-Head

ALL LEAGUE RESULTS

Season Result Scorers

2016/17 City 3-2 Maritzburg Majoro, Masina, Manyama; Onyango, Rusike

2016/17 Maritzburg 1-0 City Lentjies

2017/18 City 2-4 Maritzburg Masina, Fransman (og); Sanoka, Mokate 2, Ndlovu

LEAGUE RECORD (since 2016/17)

Home Away Total

P W D L GF GA P W D L GF GA P W D L GF GA

Maritzburg 1 1 0 0 1 0 Maritzburg 2 1 0 1 6 5 Maritzburg 3 2 0 1 7 5

City 2 1 0 1 5 6 City 1 0 0 1 0 1 City 3 1 0 2 5 7

What the teams are saying:

Maritzburg United coach Fadlu Davids:

“Look, the targets were to consolidate the club - to make it a top eight club instead of fighting relegation the one season and a top eight place the next,” said Davids.

“I think maybe we need a win and a draw to consolidate the top eight place and then we can see how many games are left.

“So far it has been successful, but there are still a lot of things to improve. We are not yet the finished product. We need to learn how to close out the game for instance.

“Our next game is against City and we need to get a win.”

Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy:

“There shouldn’t really be issues with motivation levels because this is the players’ job. Winning three points should be like a cup final because it helps you climb up the league,” McCarthy said after the Arrows game.

“This three points against Arrows would have served us nicely, but we lost.

“We still have everything to play for‚ but we were up against a team that was desperate‚ you could see the tackles flying in and our boys weren’t up for it‚ which is unlike us.

“We did not deal with Arrows’ counterattack and we were always too slow in our transition. That is what they were playing for – they were sitting nice and tight‚ allowing us to play‚ and then when they get the ball‚ they would hit us on the counter.

“We have to bounce back with a win over Maritzburg this weekend.”

Key players for Maritzburg United:

Siyanda Xulu:

The former Kaizer Chiefs defender has resurrected his career at the Team of Choice and will be the man trusted to shut the back door at home. His leadership will be key against a wounded City.

Andrea Fileccia:

The Belgian finisher was on target as they beat Siwelele in the Ke Yona cup and he will hope to do it once again in front of their home crowd to retain the full three points.

Key players for Cape Town City:

Sage Stephens:

The experienced goalkeeper must bring his A-game on Saturday and ensure they don’t concede away. He has delivered fine performances for the Capetonians between the sticks so far.

Ayanda Patosi:

With McCarthy calling for strikers to convert their chances upfront, Patosi is the man to do the job. The Bafana Bafana international is the man with an eye for goal and must be ready to lead their attack.