Struggling Maritzburg edge Leopards


Maritzburg United claimed a crucial 1-0 victory over Black Leopards in a bottom-of-the-table DStv Premiership clash at Harry Gwala Stadium on Tuesday.

Maritzburg made five changes, with New Zealander Dan Morgan a notable inclusion in the starting lineup, while Leopards remained unchanged.

Ernst Middendorp's side had the first opportunity in the 13th minute. A well worked move down the left between Jose Ali Meza and Morgan set Thabiso Kutumela free in the center but his long range effort was just wide right of the post.

Five minutes later the Team of Choice went within inches of taking the lead. Kutumela toe poked it to find Meza in the centre of the park who cannoned a right foot strike back off the underside of the bar.

In the 37th minute, a corner from Kutumela was cleared only to the edge of the box and the arriving Meza struck a first time volley that just cleared the cross bar.

A ball into the near post by Kutumela then allowed Bongokuhle Hlongwane to attack it but his deft flick was well held by the keeper.

Five minutes later, a deep corner by Kutumela picked out Judas Moseamedi at the far post and the substitute arrowed a header destined for the top corner but the keeper made a finger tip save.

Ernst Middendorp's side had another excellent chance to take the lead. Meza the menace pounced on a wayward pass and slipped Moseamedi in on goal but the striker's effort was tame and straight at the keeper.

And the Team of Choice would finally get the goal in the third minute of stoppage time when they won a penalty after Ryan Rae was fouled inside the box. Kutumela stepped up to slot the penalty into the bottom-right corner to send the Team of Choice above Leopards on the league standings.

Confirmed line-ups:

Maritzburg: Engelhardt, Allie, Daniells, Ismail, Tlolane, Rae, Graham, Morgan, Meza, Hlongwane, Kutumela.

Subs: Mpandle, Shandu, Moseamedi, Modise, Claasen, Carnell, Sifama, Hachi.

Leopards: Ndlovu, Matsimbi, Gyimah, Abubakar, Mashoene, Nthatheni, Mthethwa, Ramagalela, Hlongwane, Anas, Khutlang.

Subs: Muleka, Mokoena, Makgetlwa, Karuru, Thutlwa, Maluleke,  Masia, Kabwe, Khumalo.