Maritzburg look to continue good start to 2018

Maritzburg look to continue good start to 2018
Deolin Mekoa of Maritzburg Utd during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 game between Maritzburg United and Kaizer Chiefs at Harry Gwala Stadium, Pietermaritzburg on 20 September 2017 © BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Jan 12, 2018. 06:02

Maritzburg United will look to continue their good start to the New Year when they host Bloemfontein Celtic for an Absa Premiership clash at Harry Gwala Stadium on 12 January 2018, kick-off at 20h00.

Maritzburg opened their year’s work with a 2-1 away win over Ajax Cape Town, coming from a goal down to win in the ‘Mother City’ thanks to strikes from Deolin Mekoa and Siyanda Xulu. The KwaZulu-Natal side has won three of their last five league matches to establish themselves as definite ‘top eight’ contenders.

However, the Team of Choice has not been particularly impressive at home this season, claiming just eight points from six home matches. However, their last home game brought an impressive 3-0 win over Baroka FC in early December.

Celtic also got the New Year off to a fine start as they defeated Golden Arrows 2-1 at home on January 7, thanks to goals from Victor Letsoalo and Deon Hotto. The Bloemfontein side has scored seven goals from their last four league matches, having netted just eight in their first 11.

Phunya Sele Sele have claimed just nine points from seven away matches this season, with their last win on the road coming back in mid-October when they beat Cape Town City 1-0. Their last away game was a 4-1 loss at Mamelodi Sundowns in mid-December.

In head-to-head stats, Maritzburg and Celtic have met in 23 league matches since 2005/06. United have claimed seven wins compared to six for Phunya Sele Sele, while 10 games have been drawn. The KwaZulu-Natal side has recorded three wins, five draws and three defeats from their 11 home matches in the rivalry.

When the teams met earlier this season, Celtic claimed a 1-0 home win on October 31 thanks to a first-half goal from Jacky Motshegwa. That was the first home win in these teams’ rivalry since the first half of the 2012/13 campaign.

Maritzburg’s line-up from their 2-1 win over Ajax on January 5: Ofori, Ndlovu, Fransman, Xulu, Sanoka, Makaringe, Mekoa (De Reuck 90+3'), Shandu, Maboe (Onyango 89'), Mokate (Matima 62'), Rusike.

Celtic’s line-up from their 2-1 win over Arrows on January 7: Tignyemb, Pfumbidzai, Rikhotso, Ndengane, Letsoalo (Maruping 78’), Maema (Dlamini 64’), Gordinho, Baloyi, Hotto, Mabena (Nyundu 93’), Phalane.

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