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Football | Absa Premiership

Diyo Sibisi and Ayanda Gcaba © Reuters Images

Maritzburg reaching for Stars



Maritzburg United will look to extend their winning streak in the Absa Premiership when they visit Free State Stars at the Charles Mopeli Stadium on Saturday afternoon, kick-off at 15h00.

The Team of Choice broke their winless streak on the road with an impressive 1-0 victory over Kaizer Chiefs which was followed by another 1-0 win against title contenders Mamelodi Sundowns over the weekend.

Midfielder Kurt Lentjies rejects the idea that they've been using negative tactics to win matches as he believes good defence is part of the game.

"We showed a lot of discipline to win those matches against two of the best sides in the country," said Lentjies.

"We defended well as a team and took our chances, and that's what it's all about."

Ernst Middendorp’s side are unbeaten in their last five league outings, and have moved up to 10th place on the log with 32 points.

With the threat of relegation behind them, United can now look to push for a place in the top eight, but will be face with a tough challenge against a Stars side that has only lost two of their 13 home games this season.

"Playing Free State Stars away from home is always a tough challenge, and they are currently on form, so we're expecting a very difficult game," said Lentjies.

"We're looking to build on the last few results, keep things tight at the back and convert our chances upfront.

"If we do continue to do well in these remaining games we can really finish in a good place and fulfill the promise we showed at the start of the season."

Following their loss to Lamontville Golden Arrows and draw against Black Leopards, Steve Komphela’s men bounced to winning ways last weekend with a 1-0 win over Platinum Stars.

“Honestly, that wasn’t one of our best games but we’ve been working hard to make sure that even when we’re not at our best we should at least come away with a point,” said Stars goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene.

“Fortunately for us we managed got the goal that mattered and we were able to return with three valuable points.”

Ea Lla Koto are placed fifth on the Absa Premiership table with 42 points, six behind log leaders Orlando Pirates, but Mweene distanced his side from the tag of being title hopefuls.

“There’s no pressure on us, from the beginning of the season we’ve said our target is to be in the top five and at the moment we’re still in the right direction,” said Mweene.

“We’ll keep taking each game as it comes and try to collect as many points as we can.”

The Zambian international goalkeeper then said they have full respect for their next opponents, Maritzburg United, who will go into the clash with back-to-back victories.

“They are on a high after those two massive wins, and we are also on a high, so I’m expecting it to be an entertaining match,” said Mweene.

“Maritzburg United are no pushovers and we’ll give them the respect that they deserve, but we’ll be playing at home and we want to win the game.

“We’re not really expecting them to be as defensive as they’ve been recently, but whatever strategy they bring we have to focus on our game plan.”

Earlier this season Stars took maximum points with a 2-0 win over United at the Harry Gwala Stadium with Edward Manqele and Katlego Mashego finding the back of the net.

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