Yakubu Mohammed edge PSL rookies

Maritzburg United started their 2013/14 Absa Premiership campaign on a winning note when they defeated league newcomers Polokwane City 1-0 at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday night.

Yakubu Mohammed scored the only goal of the match midway through the second half in a match where the home side dominated proceedings.

The Ghanaian striker had a lively start in his first official game in United colours, drilling his freekick just over the crossbar in the fifth minute, before slicing another effort wide of goal.

City then came close to grabbing the lead under strange circumstances six minutes later when Mario Booysen almost deflected Mothusi Gopane’s cross into his own net, but Shu-aib Walters reacted quickly to push the ball wide.

The hosts continued to maintain control of the match and in the 16th minute Mohammed made a good run to meet Dillon Sheppard’s cross at the near post but could only send his header wide of the upright.

Three minutes later the Team of Choice won a free kick in a dangerous position through Heinrich Isaacks but Sheppard watched his well-struck effort dipping just over the crossbar.

Ernst Middendorp’s side should have gone ahead in the 31st minute when Ruben Cloete’s cross found Isaacks unmarked at the far post, but the Namibian international sidefooted wide.

Then in the 44th minute United felt that they should have been awarded a penalty when Cloete was brought down on the edge of box, but the referee ruled that the infringement had occurred outside the penalty area.

Mohammed took the resultant freekick but yet again the former Ashanti Gold striker was unable to find the target, sending his effort flew wide of the upright to send the two sides to the break with the scores level.

The visitors came back from the break with renewed confidence and came close to taking the lead into the second half, but Walters pulled off another superb save to parry Thabo Rakhale’s low effort away.

However, it was the home side who eventually went ahead in the 68th minute when they were awarded another free kick just outside the box; Sheppard rolled the ball towards Mohammed and this time he drilled his low shot into the bottom right corner.

Terrance Mandaza had a quiet game by his standards and in the 82nd minute he tried his luck from long range, but he flashed his shot wide before making way for Thamsanqa Mkhize seconds later.

United controlled the pace for the remainder of the match to win their opening game of the season for the first time since gaining promotion to the elite league.

Maritzburg United (0) 1 (Mohammed 68’)

Polokwane City 0


Maritzburg United: Walters, Evans, Awal, Booysen M, Cloete, Morton, De Jongh (Buckley 64’), Isaacks (Smeekes 46’), Sheppard, Mandaza (Mkhize 82’), Mohammed

Polokwane City: Modiri, Tema, Lichaba, Mngqibisa, Mthimkulu, Motsiane (Mathibe 79’), Molala, Macuphu (Tlolane 70’), Nzimande, Gopane (Mkhwanazi 84’), Rakhale