Result: Maritzburg United 3-0 Stellenbosch
Date: 28 February 2020
Venue: Harry Gwala Stadium
Maritzburg United jumped to fourth spot n the Absa Premiership with an impressive 3-0 triumph over Stellenbosch FC on Friday night.
Maritzburg recalled shot-stopper Richard Ofori, Rushine De Reuck, Keagan Buchanan and Daniel Morgan while striker Hlongwane got a rare start alongside Thabiso Kutumela upfront. Meanwhile, Stellies had two enforced changes, with Alan Robertson and Diego Franco replacing the injured duo of Robyn Johannes and Ovidy Karuru.
The Team of Choice had a bright start, as Hlongwane gave opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a diving header on the far side of the six-yard box after Stellenbosch goalkeeper Lee Langeveldt saved Kutumela's initial strike.
Eric Tinkler's charges were exciting going forward and came close to doubling their lead in the 25th minute after Hlongwane went through on goal but his low shot was saved by Langeveldt at the near post.
Steve Barker's men fashioned their first chance at goal in the last five minutes before the break, as Iqraam Rayners charged his way into the box and curled a threatening strike that dipped over the bar.
Maritzburg were on the front foot in the early stages of the second stanza which resulted in the second goal three minutes before the hour-mark after Tebogo Tlolane poked home a low strike from Hlongwane's through ball.
Franco almost pulled a goal back for Stellies immediately thereafter with a low strike inside the box that was saved by Ofori, who was called into action for the first time in the game.
Tinkler put more pressure on the Stellenbosch defence in the last 13 minutes, as he brought on big striker Judas Moseamedi to partner Hlongwane upfront in place of Kutumela.
The pressure seemingly paid off as Hlongwane bagged his second and United's third goal six minutes before time with a close-range header from a corner.
Hlongwane had a chance to snatch a hat-trick in stoppage time after going clear at the near post but his shot was crucially blocked as the encounter ended 3-0, with Maritzburg moving to within three points of third-place Orlando Pirates.
Here's how they lined up:
Maritzburg: 31. Ofori, 36. Kunene, 3. Sanoka, 7. Kutumela, 23. De Reuck, 5. Morgan, 8. Buchanan, 14. Claasen, 29. Ntshangase, 40. Tlolane, 21. Hlongwane.
Subs: 43. Barr, 45. Mngonyama, 26. Shandu, 6. Timm, 12. Nyoni, 11. Brockie, 19. Moseamedi.
Stellenbosch: 35. Langeveldt, 42. Mobbie, 13. Van Heerden, 5. Mthethwa, 20. Robertson, 32. Mbekile, 23. Sinkala, 8. Matsi, 10. Rayners, 11. Franco, 29. Moon.
Subs: 31. De Jong, 21. Isaacs, 14. Skelem, 15. Bergman, 7. Van Rooyen, 12. Scott, Msengi.