Soweto - Cuthbert Malajila scored an injury-time winner to earn a 3-2
victory for Maritzburg United over Orlando Pirates in their final Absa
Premiership match of the season at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
The visitors twice came from behind and snatched the winner in injury time
to stun the Buccaneers, relegating the Soweto giants to third place in the
Pirates had controlled the game throughout, but poor defending saw them lose
at the death.
Tlou Segolela, called up to the Bafana Bafana squad this week, opened the
scoring for the Buccanneers in the 18th minute with a well-struck header.
Maritzburg scored an equaliser against the run of play in the 58th minute
through a stunning long-range strike from Heinrich Isaacks, but Pirates were determined
to end their league campaign on a high-note as Khethowakhe Masuku netted three
Maritzburg equalised again when Ryan de Jongh scored his side's second with
three minutes left on the clock, but the visitors had the final say as Malajila
fired home the winner with time running out.
Maritzburg picked up three points to end the league season in 11th position.
Pirates produced their first serious threat on goal when Happy Jele whipped
a ball into the area, and Segolela's header found the back of the net to make
it 1-0 to the hosts in the 18th minute.
Four minutes later, from a Segolela corner which was allowed to bounce in
the area, Collins Mbesuma was left in a one-on-one situation with Maritzburg
keeper Shuiab Walters, but the shot-stopper managed to get his body in the way
and block the effort.
Maritzburg made an attempt to pull a goal back, and in the 24th minute De
Jongh tried his luck from range, but his well-struck effort just missed right
of the target.
Two minutes later, De Jongh turned provider as he crossed for Orlando
Smeekes, but the ball fell just ahead of Smeeks and the attempt was easily
gathered by Senzo Meyiwa in the Pirates goal.
A minute before the break Segolela had a chance to double the lead with a
run into the area, but his attempt from a tight angle was pulled across the
face of goal.
Mabena had a powerful close-range effort saved in the 50th minute as Pirates
looked to double their advantage after the interval.
A minute later Jele had a free header from close range but was unable to
find the target.
In the 53rd minute, Masuku went for goal from a free kick 25 metres out, and
Walters deflected the ball against the post and out for a goal kick.
Maritzburg substitute Isaacks, with nothing on in the midfield, ran towards
the box on the hour mark, and before entering the area unleashed a fierce
strike which rocketed into the top corner to level the scores at 1-1.
Moments later, Pirates cut the Maritzburg defence in half, and the shot fell
to Masuku. This time he made no mistake as he banged the ball home to regain
the lead for his side.
The next equaliser came for Maritzburg United with three minutes left after
a goalmouth scuffle, with De Jongh able to edge the ball over the line.
Malajila netted in second-half injury time to snatch three points for the