Maritzburg add to Polokwane City's woes

Siphesihle Ndlovu of Maritzburg United and Rodney Ramagelela of Polokwane City during the Absa Premiership match between Maritzburg United and Polokwane City at Harry Gwala Stadium on March 16, 2018 in Pietermaritzburg.
Siphesihle Ndlovu of Maritzburg United and Rodney Ramagelela of Polokwane City during the Absa Premiership match between Maritzburg United and Polokwane City at Harry Gwala Stadium on March 16, 2018 in Pietermaritzburg.
Image: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

Maritzburg United’s unlikely hopes of a league title are still alive after they scratched out a 2-1 win over Polokwane City at home at a rainy Harry Gwala Stadium and are now up to third in the Absa Premiership.

Maritzburg advanced to 38 points, five behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, but having played a game more, and while they are not talking the title, they will be allowing themselves a look up the table and maybe fantasising about what many would have thought impossible for a team of their meagre means.

Pogiso Sanoka and new Bafana call-up Siphesihle Ndlovu scored the goals for the hosts while Polokwane City got a late goal through Malawian debutant Muhammad Sulumba, but were unable to cojour up a second and force what might have been a deserved point.

A corner in the seventh minute provided the first goal as Sanoka had three attempts before burying it from close range.

He initially headed it goalwards, then had a chance to shoot but hit goalkeeper George Chigova before he hammered the rebound into the net for his third goal of the season.

It was the perfect start for the home side, looking for a fifth win in their last six games as they keep up their chances of taking an unlikely league title.

Maritzburg had a second chance for Andrea Fileccia and one after that for Mohau Mokate, who from an offside position forced as point blank save out of Chigova.

But as the rain got a little harder, Polokwane looked to force themselves back into the game with Puleng Tlolane meekly firing a few efforts in at goal and Salulani Phiri forcing his way through on the stroke of half-time but the kicking his effort over the bar.

Polokwane continued to keep up the pressure but could not penetrate with the league’s leading goal scorer Rodney Ramagalela kept largely ineffective.

Maritzburg scored with a sucker punch in the 75th minute to double the score as goalkeeper Richard Ofori ‘s long clearance bounced over Thabiso Semenya and allowed Ndlovu to go through and score just days after earning a first call-up from Stuart Baxter.

The usually-reliable Ofori slipped to allow Sulumbu a goal on his debut as the goalkeeper missed a cross and the Malawian scrambled the ball home off his chest.
Polokwane stay on 27 points still in dire straits near the bottom.

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