Maritzburg record first home win


At a wet and rainy Harry Gwala stadium, Maritzburg started the game on the front foot, enjoying the lion’s share of possession and chances on goal.

An early free-kick in the fourth minute for the hosts found the head of David Booysen, who could only guide his header wide of the Arrows goal.

Ten minutes later and teammate Philani Zulu tried his luck from range, yet despite being unable to hold on in the slippery conditions, goalkeeper Maximilian Mbaeva managed to get behind the ball and block the shot.

Arrows were playing on the counter, sprinting forward into space at every opportunity as Rodney Ramagalela showcased his skill, slipping past his man before forcing a sharp save from Glenn Verbauwhede just before the half-hour mark.

Evans Rusike then made sure Mbaeva kept busy, trying his luck from range with two shots in quick succession, but he could not find a way past the Arrows shot-stopper.

A tussle five minutes before the break outlined the heated nature of the derby encounter, with the KZN rivals deadlocked after the first 45 minutes.

Just as they started the opening stanza, the Team of Choice opened the second half with intent, and after sustained early pressure, Deolin Mekoa's stinging shot could only be palmed by Mbaeva into the path of in-form Kurt Lentjies, who fired home his eighth goal of the season to hand his side a deserved lead.

In their search for the equaliser, Arrows were found wanting at the back, leaving acres of space for Maritzburg to exploit as Evans Rusike played a delightful ball through for substitute Mohammed Anas to coolly slot home on 73 minutes to double his team’s lead.

Rusike himself then went for the spectacular seven minutes from time, latching onto a volley that dipped just over the bar.

Ernst Middendorp’s men saw off the six minutes of added time to hold on to just their first home win of the season as they remain in 16th place on the PSL table, but just one point off 15th-placed University of Pretoria.