MARITZBURG PUT THREE PAST STELLENBOSCH
28 February 2020
A brace from Bongokuhle Hlongwane helped inspire a 3-0 Absa Premiership win for the Team of Choice over Stellenbosch FC at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday night.
On a rainy evening in PMB, Maritzburg United got stronger and stronger as the match went on, with two goals from Hlongwane either side of a Tebogo Tlolane goal enabling an ultimately comfortable win.
The Cape side had enjoyed a bright start to the game.
But United had other ideas and stamped their authority with 12 minutes played when Thabiso Kutumela went on a surging run through the middle before unleashing a powerful, swerving shot.
His effort was deflected by goalkeeper Lee Langeveldt into the vicinity of Hlongwane, who reacted sharply as he came storming in to head the ball into the net.
The Team of Choice continued to look a threat, especially on the counter. It was from such a scenario that Daylon Claasen threaded in Kutumela, who crossed for Tlolane, only for him to cut inside and have his shot blocked by a defender.
Moments later Kutumela was again involved as he played Hlongwane in on goal, but he was unable to score as Langeveldt made a sharp save at his near post.
The match remained tightly balanced, with the next chance arriving in the 40th minute when Iqraam Rayners crashed a powerful shot from the edge of the box narrowly over the Maritzburg goal.
Just before the half time break, Kutumela was close to adding to the home side’s tally when he bent a free kick into the side-netting.
There had been little to separate the two sides after the restart, yet once more it was the Team of Choice who were to make it count in front of goal.
Hlongwane was the instigator, winning back possession before charging goalwards and then releasing a lovely through ball for Tlolane, who stabbed the ball into the net via the hand of an outstretched Langeveldt to make it 2-0.
Stellenbosch nearly hit straight back, but fortunately for United, Richard Ofori was on top of his game as he made a superb save to keep out Diego Franco.
Claasen meanwhile could have added another goal as he fired a low shot inches wide of the far post with 20 minutes to play.
Ofori then again answered the call when he made a brave block to stop Ryan Moon from scoring on his return to Pietermaritzburg.
The victory was sealed by the hosts with five minutes of regulation time to play when Hlongwane expertly nodded Tlolane’s corner into the net.
It could even have been four when Judas Moseamedi went clean through on goal a minute later but his shot lacked conviction and Langeveldt made the save, with Hlongwane also missing a chance soon after that.
Nevertheless it was job done as Maritzburg recorded their biggest win of the season.
Maritzburg: Ofori, Kunene, Sanoka, De Reuck, Morgan, Buchanan, Claasen, Ntshangase, Tlolane, Kutumela, Hlongwane
Subs: Barr, Timm, Nyoni, Brockie, Mngonyama, Shandu, Moseamedi
Stellenbosch: Langeveldt, Robertson, Mobbie, van Heerden, Mthethwa, Mbekile, Sinkala, Matsi, Franco, Moon, Rayners
Subs: De Jong, Skelem, Bergman, Van Rooyen, Isaacs, Msengi, Scott