Kompela off to a winning start at Maritzburg

Steve Komphela got off to a winning start as coach of Maritzburg United when the Team of Choice beat the University of Pretoria 3-2 in a thrilling Absa Premiership encounter at Tuks Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Atusaye Nyondo opened the scoring for Tuks before Kurt Lentjies and Mario Booysen scored in quick succession.

Thabo Mnyamane thought he had secured a point for the hosts with a wonderful free-kick, but Bongolethu Jayiya stole the points for United with the last kick of the game.

AmaTuks coach Steve Barker made three changes to the side that lost 1-0 to Tshwane rivals SuperSport United on Friday.

Atusaye Nyondo, Khethukuthula Zwane and Thabo Mosadi were included in a very attack minded starting XI.

Steve Komphela, who was in charge in his first game as head coach of Maritzburg United included former Tuks striker Thokozani Sekotlong in the starting line-up.

Meanwhile, there was also a start for Kurt Lentjies who re-joined the Team of Choice last month, while Bongolethu Jayiya who is on-loan from Bidvest Wits was named among the substitutes.

AmaTuks looked threatening early on and went close through a Geofrey Massa free-kick in the fifth minute, his curling effort going just over Shu-Aib Walters crossbar.

Atusaye Nyondo opened the scoring for the hosts in the 14th minute, Massa’s precise cross was turned into the goal by the Malawian marksman from close range.

The visitors only managed their first attempt on target in the 24th minute.

Maritzburg skipper Michael Morton out jumped his marker, but was only able to direct his resulting header straight into the arms of Washington Arubi.

Tuks continued to look the more menacing in front of goal with Massa notably directing a couple of powerful shots just wide as the half grew to an end.

The home side were 1-0 leaders at the break.

Ruben Cloete sent a stinging volley inches over Arubi’s crossbar eight minutes into the second stanza in what was the first attempt at goal of the half.

Tebogo Monyai somehow kept the ball out of his own net in the 62nd minute.

The AmaTuks captain miraculously cleared the ball off the line following a quick counter-attack by United.

Walters pulled off a great save seven minutes later to deny Massa. The Ugandan striker’s turn and shot was brilliantly directed onto the post by Walters who subsequently kept his team in the game.

Nyondo had an opportunity to complete his brace in the 77th minute, but slipped after being put straight through on goal.

Lentjies pulled the visitors level from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute following a foul from Grant Kekana on Orlando Smeekes inside the area.

Three minutes later United took the lead through Booysen who directed an unstoppable header past Arubi from a corner-kick.

Mnyamane equalised for the hosts with a precise free-kick in the second minute of stoppage time, but Jayiya secured the points for Maritzburg with virtually the last kick of the game.

University of Pretoria (1) 2 (Nyondo 14’ Mnyamane 90+2’)

Mmaritzburg United (0) 3 (Lentjies 82’ M.Booysen 85’ Jayiya 90+4’)

University of Pretoria: Arubi; Kekana. Nyondo (Mnyamane 86’), Mkhwanazi, Moussono-Moussono, Ketjijere, Monyai, Massa (Ngubane 72’), Zwane, Mosadi, Monama (Mathosi 86’)

Maritzburg United: Walters, M. Booysen, Awal, Evans, Isaacks, Cloete, Lentjies, Sheppard (Jayiya 58’), Matuka (Smeekes 57’), Sekotlong (Buckley 76’), Morton