Maritzburg returned to their home ground, eager to return to winning ways after going down to Orlando Pirates last time out.
With second place at stake and the opportunity to temporarily leapfrog Kaizer Chiefs, who welcome Bloemfontein Celtic on Saturday evening, there was simply no margin for error.
On-loan Amakhosi winger William Twala replaced the suspended Lebohang Maboe.
Thirteen minutes was all it took for the game’s first goal.
It came in the form of a thunderous free kick by Riyaad Norodien, who unleashed a stinging drive from 30-yards that gave Richard Ofori no chance, thus stunning the home crowd.
Former Orlando Pirates midfielder Manti Mekoa was forced to leave immediately after they went ahead due to injury and was replaced by Enocent Mkhabela.
The early goal rattled United and, as such, they struggled to get back into the swing of things, where they struggled to break down the visitors and went into the break trailing.
The Team of Choice came out firing after the restart and almost got the equaliser but, after good interplay, Deolin Mekoa saw his effort cleared off the line by Gift Sithole after 50 minutes.
Mohau Mokate found space in the box and drew Dino Visser into a point-blank save with an accurate header two minutes later.
Seven minutes on and Visser almost gifted the leveler after fumbling Paseka Sanoka’s long-range shot, which spilled out of his hands and onto the post before he managed to gather at the second attempt.
A tired looking Dikwena towards the end of the game struggled to keep up with the pace of the game and also the shots fired in by the likes of Andrea Fileccia and company.
They were eventually made to pay for their sloppiness after Fileccia got behind the defence to volley home the equaliser after abysmal defending two minutes before the end.
It got even worse for Platinum Stars in injury time after Victor Gomes awarded Maritzburg a penalty after Charles Baloyi was adjudged to have brought down Mokate, allowing Fileccia to complete his brace and secure the win that took them second.