Maritzburg drop to last place on the log

Maritzburg drop to last place on the log
Thapelo Morena of Mamelodi Sundowns clears ball from Jemondre Dickens of Baroka during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Baroka FC at the Lucas Moripe Stadium, Atteridgeville on 11 December 2018 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Dec 22, 2018. 22:46

Maritzburg United have dropped to last place on the Absa Premiership log after they were beaten 1-0 by Baroka FC at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday night.

The Team of Choice slump to 16th on the standings with 11 points from 14 matches, taking the place of Bakgaga, who have leapt up to 12th with 14 points from 15 league outings.

The teams traded half chances in slippery conditions for most of the first half. Maritzburg had some promising attacks built by good passing, but poor decision-making and execution in the final third let them down, while Baroka were more direct and aggressive in their offence, but generally struggled to call Ofori into significant action.

The Limpopo side gave notice of their intent in the 35th minute when Jemondre Dickens had the beating of Maritzburg goalkeeper Richard Ofori with a fine strike direct from a long-range free kick, but the ball rebounded off the crossbar.

The half looked set to end goalless but two minutes into injury time Bakgaga claimed the lead out of nowhere, with Dickens unmarked in the penalty area from a free kick and finding the back of the net with a well-placed header to make it 1-0 to the visitors at the break.

United made two changes at the start of the second half, introducing forward Andrea Fileccia and energetic midfielder Sphesihle Ndlovu (for Mohau Mokate and Keletso Makgalwa respectively), yet Baroka remained the more threatening team.

In fact, Dickens was again denied by the crossbar in the 62nd minute, this time from a shot which took a wicked deflection off a defender, while just a few seconds later the hosts needed Ofori to make a good low save to keep out Talent Chawapiwa.

Maritzburg began throwing men forward in the final stages of the game and on 82 minutes Rushine De Reuck very nearly scored an own goal, redirecting a cross from Baroka’s left flank just wide of Ofori’s posts.

The Team of Choice came close to levelling the game at the death: first they saw Elvis Chipezeze make a sharp save in an incident which also saw the hosts appeal vociferously for a penalty, before the subsequent corner kick gave Yannick Zakri a headed chance which hit the crossbar.

The teams will return to Absa Premiership action on January 6 in provincial derbies, with Maritzburg away to Golden Arrows and Baroka at home to Black Leopards.

Maritzburg United 0
Baroka FC (1) 1 (Dickens 45+2’)

Maritzburg: Ofori, De Reuck, Xulu, Onyango, Makaringe, Atouba (Shandu 69’), Zakri, Kunene, Makgalwa (Ndlovu 46’), Mekoa, Mokate (Fileccia 46’)

Baroka: Chipezeze, Semenya, Sibiya, Banda (Madubanya 87’), Gebhardt, Mdantsane, Mosele, Patjie (Kgoetyane 90+4’), Sodi, Chawapiwa, Dickens (Chivaviro 72’)

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