Cape Town - Bottom-of-the-table Maritzburg United
secured a precious 2-1 victory at fellow strugglers Black Leopards to
keep their slim survival hopes alive in the Absa Premiership.
While the victory did not lift The Team of Choice out of bottom spot
in the table, it did see them secure three valuable points and move to
within striking distance of their nearest rivals, giving themselves a
chance of surviving the drop come the end of the season.
United now have 23 points, one behind Chippa United, two adrift of
Baroka and three shy of Leopards, who remain in danger of relegation
along with Free State Stars on 26 points.
All three goals in Saturday's clash at the Thohoyandou Stadium came in the second half, after a quiet opening period.
Siphesihle Ndlovu probably had the best chance for Maritzburg in the
35th minute after breaking free inside the box, but his close-range shot
was saved by Leopards goalkeeper King Ndlovu.
It took the visitors just two minutes into the second half to break
the deadlock, however, as Fortune Makaringe created the opening for
Mohau Mokate, who had the beating of Ndlovu on this occasion.
And there was joy for the Eric Tinkler and the Maritzburg bench just
five minutes later as Pirates-bound Makaringe managed to force an own
goal from Leopards defender Jean Munganga to put his side 2-0 up.
Leopards refused to go down without a fight, however, and managed to
pull one back in the 64th minute through the PSL's leading goal scorer
Mwape Musonda, who netted his 15th of the season in the Premiership.
That goal prompted Tinkler to go on the defensive, substituting Allen
Kateregga for defender Rushine De Reuck, in order to protect their
lead, and the move paid off, as Maritzburg held on for a victory that
could end up rescuing their lackluster season.