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Maritzburg Sink High-Flying Royal AM In KZN Derby

Maritzburg United handed Royal AM their first DStv Premiership defeat in 2022 after securing a 1-0 win at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday night.

DStv Premiership

Result: Maritzburg United 1-0 Royal AM

Date: 04 May 2022

Venue: Harry Gwala Stadium

John Maduka rotated the side that narrowly lost to Mamelodi Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup semi-final, as Mxolisi Macuphu and Thabo Matlaba were some of those missing due to suspension and injuries while Victor Letsoalo was dropped to the bench, as they recalled the likes of Ndumiso Mabena and Tebogo Potsane.

The visitors were on the front foot in the early stages but they lost their rhythm after the injury of Wandile Mabuza, who was replaced by Thato Lingwati at the back.

The Team of Choice, buoyed by the home crowd, started to gain confidence, with constant counter-attacks but Friday Samu eventually broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute with a header in the six-yard box from Keegan Ritchie's corner.

Ernst Middendorp's troops had their tails up after that, as they threatened to double their lead but their chances were from long range strikes that did not trouble shot-stopper Hugo Nyame.

Thwihli Thwahla came back to life just before the halftime break, as Mfundo Thikazi forced a save out of goalkeeper Marcel Engelhardt with a strike at the near post after going through on goal on the left channel.

Scroll through the gallery to see the PSL stars turning out in the ABC Motsepe League.

Maduka eventually brought on Letsoalo at halftime in place of Sello Matjila in an attacking move and the Bafana Bafana striker came close to finding the equaliser just before the hour-mark with a header at the back post that was kept out by Engelhardt.

Royal AM pressed Maritzburg high and were nearly rewarded 20 minutes before time after a back pass by Clayton Daniels forced Engelhardt to hurry out of his area, although his clearance ricocheted off Potsane and sailed just wide of the gaping net.

Thwihli Thwahla refreshed their attack in the last ten minutes with the introduction of Sedwyn George and Menzi Masuku but were nearly caught cold just after that as Samu had a free header in the box that came off the crossbar.

Royal AM risked being caught on counter-attacks, as they attacked the Team of Choice with numbers and the hosts had better chances utilising the space at the other end of the pitch and they held on in the end to clinch a win that took them four points clear of the relegation zone.

Here's how they line up:

Maritzburg: 31. Engelhardt, 17. Claasen, 5. Daniels, 4. Allie, 2. Pereira, 6. Graham, 23. Lukhubeni, 16. Ritchie, 28. Palace, 20. Samu, 9. Macheke.

Subs: 1. Petersen, 12. Baloyi, 19. Skelem, 11. Soukouna, 22. Theron, 25. Ismail, 42. Rae, 8. Kewuti, 27. Ndengane.

Royal AM: 16. Nyame, 17. Mogaila, 19. Matjila, 28. Mabuza, 13. Manganyi, 2. Msomi, 18. Mashikinya, 12. Mahlasela, 11. Potsane, 34. Thikazi, 10. Mabena.

Subs: 1. Heugh, 46. Mdluli, 4. Mzila, 21. Letsoalo, 45. George, 50. Masuku, 24. Lingwati, 36. Maxwele, 42. Ncobeni.

 

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