CLAASEN TO THE DOUBLE AS UNITED SINK CHIEFS
15 February 2020
Maritzburg United completed a successful week with a 2-1 win over Kaizer Chiefs in an Absa Premiership match at the FNB Stadium on Saturday evening.
Maritzburg beat Stellenbosch in the Nedbank Cup last weekend and then travelled to Johannesburg, where they beat Bidvest Wits 1-0 on Wednesday before recording a memorable victory in Soweto three days later against the league leaders.
It was Chiefs who had enjoyed the better of the chances on the night, but two brilliantly-taken goals from Daylon Claasen in two second half minutes secured victory.
Following kick off, the Team of Choice made a hesitant start to the game, finding themselves under increasing pressure as the hosts did most of the attacking.
There was early work for Richard Ofori, who did well under pressure from Leonardo Castro to keep out a Samir Nurkovic strike, before Khama Billiat dragged a shot wide in the 13th minute.
There were a couple of half-chances for Maritzburg through Thabiso Kutumela, but he was way off the mark with an attempted volley and a shot from 25-yards out.
With Amakhosi continuing to put crosses and corners into the United box, Ofori was again called into action, and did superbly to claw away a Nurkovic header.
Nurkovic was doing his best to break the deadlock, and looked set to score 10 minutes before the interval when he cut inside and then unleashed a low shot on the reverse angle, but once more Ofori was up to the task with a brilliant reflexive save.
Just before the break there was another opening for Maritzburg when Claasen picked out Keegan Buchanan, but the latter struck his volley over goal.
The Team of Choice started the second half with more purpose, but it was again Ofori who had work to do as Chiefs cut through the United defence on 62 minutes, with Lebogang Manyama receiving the ball in space right in front of goal, only to be denied by yet another top-drawer save from Ofori.
Maritzburg were then to shock the home crowd into silence when they took the lead in the 65th minute. Tebogo Tlolane was the provider, stealing the ball off goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi before picking out Claasen at the back post, from where the midfielder steered a scintilating volley into the back of the net.
And just two minutes later there was more the celebrate for the Maritzburg bench and for the band of supporters who were in attendance, as Claasen completed his brace with a diving header, following a cross by Tlolane and a lovely cushioned first-time pass from Kutumela.
The Soweto giants upped the ante as they looked for a way back, and after a series of chances, they pulled a goal back in the 78th minute when Nurkovic headed home from a Manyama corner.
The pressure was now relentless on the Maritzburg defence, although the KZN club could have added more daylight to the scoreline when Yusuf Jappie crossed for Judas Moseamedi, who was just unable to get a touch on the ball.
There were anxious moments for the Team of Choice late on as Chiefs kept coming at them, and there were a few close calls as Erick Mathoho missed with a header in the 91st minute before Bernard Parker’s 95th minute effort was gratefully pouched by Ofori.
Chiefs: Akpeyi, Frosler, Ntiya-Ntiya, Cardoso, Mathoho, Katsande, Billiat, Maluleka, Castro, Manyama, Nurkovic.
Subs: Khune, Parker, Moleko, Kambole, Akumu, Sasman, Zuma.
Maritzburg: Ofori, Allie, Tlolane, Xulu, De Reuck, Ntshangase, Claasen, Buchanan, Moseamedi, Kunene, Kutumela.
Subs: Mpandle, Sanoka, Mngonyama, Timm, Nyoni, Jappie, Brockie.