Result: Maritzburg United 1-0 AmaZulu
Date: 16 January 2020
Venue: Harry Gwala Stadium
Maritzburg United extended their unbeaten run to seven matches in the Absa Premiership after overcoming KwaZulu-Natal rivals AmaZulu on Friday evening.
The Team of Choice made three changes from their draw with Chippa United, as goalkeeper Richard Ofori returned to the line-up alongside Daniel Morgan and Thabiso Kutumela. Meanwhile, Usuthu mentor Jozef Vukusic made numerous changes that included a first start for Slovakian striker Milos Lacny and a return in goals of goalkeeper Siyabonga Mbatha.
Eric Tinkler's charges started at a high tempo and came close to opening the scoring in the 14th minute after Mbatha parried Gabriel Nyoni's header from a free-kick into the path of Kutumela, who fired his effort over the bar.
Kutumela eventually broke the deadlock in the 27th minute with a powerful strike into the top corner from almost the same situation after Mbatha saved Mxolisi Kunene's initial effort.
Maritzburg thought they had bagged a seocnd goal on the stroke of half-time after Kutumela dispossessed Phumlani Gumede to go clear on goal, however the strike was disallowed for a foul on Gumede.
The early exchanges in the second stanza failed to produce the spark from the first stanza, which Vukusic make a first change in the 63rd minute after Sibusiso Magaqa picked up a knock and was replaced by Jabulani Ncobeni.
Tinkler only made his first change with 23 minutes remaining as Bandile Shandu came on for Nyoni while Vukusic raised eyebrows moments later,after taking out winger Talent Chawapiwa in favour of right-back Thembela Sikhakhane.
The Team of Choice denied AmaZulu momentum in the closing stages and managed to keep possession in the latter stages as Tinkler's mn held on for three points.
Here's how they lined up:
Maritzburg: 30. Ofori, 36. Kunene, 3. Sanoka, 12. Nyoni, 23. De Reuck, 2. Allie, 8. Buchanan, 14. Claasen, 5. Morgan, 7. Kutumela, 19. Moseamedi.
Subs: 31. Mpandle, 25. Xulu, 6. Timm, 26. Shandu, 17. Augusto, 21. Hlongwane, 11. Jappie.
AmaZulu: 28. Mbatha, 33. Darpoh, 29. Mabiliso, 17. P.Gumede, 18. Booysen, 6. Ncube, Magaqa, 10. Sithebe, 31. Lacny, 19. Chawapihwa, 7. Ntuli.
Subs: 43. Boshoff, 27. Xoki, 24. Sikhakhane, 4. Morton, 50. Vilakazi, 20. Majoro, 8. Ncobeni.