MARITZBURG LOOKING FOR INSPIRED PERFORMANCE AGAINST MASANDAWANA

Maritzburg United will have to be at their best to beat one of the continent’s strongest teams, Mamelodi Sundowns, in Tuesday’s Absa Premiership showdown at the Harry Gwala Stadium.

Kick-off is at 19H30.

The Team of Choice head into the match on the back of a 0-1 defeat to Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium on Saturday night, having won two of their last five league games.

Sundowns were meanwhile involved in CAF Champions League action and picked up a 3-0 home win over Lobi Stars of Nigeria, also on Saturday night.

Prior to that, the Tshwane side recorded one win and three draws in their five most recent Absa Premiership games, and are second on the PSL table, behind Orlando Pirates only on goal difference.

Team of Choice head coach Eric Tinkler watched in Soweto on Saturday as United squandered a couple of opportunities to have taken something from the Chiefs game, and will now be expecting his men to be more clinical at home against the Brazilians.

“Very disappointing,” coach Eric said of the Chiefs encounter. “We went into the first half and created many chances but failed to take them and in the end we got punished for it.

“There is a quick turnaround but we will work hard at training [on Monday]. Every game is important now. In our situation we need points, we need to win games.”

Maritzburg’s task against Sundowns will be a made a little harder by the absence of three players: Miguel Timm and Siphesihle Ndlovu are both suspended, while Brian Onyango is still unavailable through injury.

The Team of Choice’s last two matches at home have ended in victory, including the thrilling come-from-behind 2-1 derby win over AmaZulu, a game in which the Maritzburg fans played a crucial role as they willed their team to fight till the death for the maximum points.

“The supporters must come out in their numbers, like they have been doing so. They were a major part of our previous two results so they need to come and support the boys,” coach Eric said.

Another source of inspiration for the KZN Midlands club is a fairly reasonable record against the mighty Masandawana. Overall, there have been 28 games played, with Maritzburg winning 6, Sundowns 16, and 6 draws.

United lost this season’s first round league match in Pretoria 0-1, but last season at the Harry Gwala Stadium, they beat Pitso Mosimane’s side 3-1 in the Nedbank Cup, and drew 2-2 in the league. If they can recapture some of the energy from those performances, coach Eric and his men have every chance of a positive result on Tuesday.

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