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Reports & Previews

Maritzburg United 2-1 AmaZulu

Maritzburg United rallied from behind to record a crucial 2-1 victory over KZN rivals AmaZulu at Harry Gwala Stadium on Friday night.

Usuthu claimed the lead on the stroke of half-time thanks to Bandile Shandu's own goal, but the Team of Choice showed real grit and determination after the break as they drew level through Fortune Makaringe on 76 minutes, before Judas Moseamedi completed the come-from-behind victory in injury time.

The match started at a cautious pace with neither side committing too many men in attack in the opening 15 minutes of play.

However, the match sprang to life in the 16th minute when Maritzburg striker Thabiso Kutumela fired over the bar from a direct free-kick.

Usuthu hit back with a chance of their own just four minutes later, and it would have been one to remember after a brilliant piece of inventive play. Bongi Ntuli collected the ball with his back to goal and tried his luck with a cheeky backheel, only for goalkeeper Richard Ofori to snap up the shot.

Maritzburg again went close to breaking the deadlock on 24 minutes from another set-piece situation, Kutumela striking the bar with a free-kick from the edge of the box.

The hosts continued to press forward and they again went agonisingly close to grabbing the lead just after the half-hour mark as Yannick Zakri burst forward on an impressive solo run before seeing his low shot kept out by Siyabonga Mbatha in the AmaZulu goal.

And, that succession of squandered chances came back to haunt the Team of Choice in the 44th minute as Bandile Shandu headed the ball into his own net at the back post to hand AmaZulu the lead.

Maritzburg created one more chance in injury time but they were again denied by Mbatha, the goalkeeper pulling of a great reaction save from close range to deny Nazeer Allie.

The home side picked up where left off after the half-time break, with Mxolisi Kunene firing just wide of the goal after just one minute of play.

But there was very little in the way of goalmouth action in the minutes that followed, although the action picked up again in the 63rd minute, Mbatha producing a superb save to deny Kutumela's close-range volley with his feet.

At the opposite end of the pitch, Maritzburg fired a warning shot at AmaZulu in the 66th minute as Fortune Makaringe headed wide at the far post from Kunene's inviting cross.

They finally got the breakthrough they were looking for in the 76th minute as Makaringe bundled the ball over the line after Allan Kateregga sent a dangerous free-kick into the box.

And, with the momentum now on their side, Maritzburg piled forward in search of the winner and eventually found it in the third minute of injury time. Substitute Mohau Mokate played a knock-down towards Judas Moseamedi, who hit a sweetly struck half-volley into the back of the net.