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Football | Absa Premiership

Gavin Hunt © Gallo Images

SuperSport, Maritzburg renew rivalry



SuperSport United and Maritzburg United will renew their rivalry when they meet in an Absa Premiership encounter at the Lucas Masterpieces Stadium on Tuesday night.

The two sides recently met in a Nedbank Cup quarterfinal, a match which ended 2-1 in favour of Matsatsantsa, and Maritzburg will be keen to avenge that loss.

This match will also be a classic battle for log positions as the two sides are currently separated by one point on the league table.

SuperSport are currently sitting in fifth place with 35 points from 24 matches, while Maritzburg are one spot below with 34 points, with the Kwazulu-Natal side having played one game more.

The Team of Choice were held to a 2-2 stalemate by KZN rivals Lamontville Golden Arrows in their last league encounter, their third draw in a row, and coach Ernst Middendorp says he is concerned by the way they have been defending recently.

“There is a bit of a concern with allowing the opposition into the box too easily,” said Middendorp.

“We need more inspiration and aggressiveness from our backline. We are too calm and relaxed in certain moments and we should not be conceding goals like this.”

With four teams below them within two points of their reach, Middendorp is aware that his side have very little room for error in their remaining matches, starting with Tuesday’s clash against Supersport.

“The results that we will see over the next five matches all over the league are going to be very strange and unexpected, of that there is no doubt,” he concluded.

SuperSport, on the other hand, have won three of their last four league matches and came back from being a goal down to beat Chippa United 2-1 in their last league outing.

Matsatsantsa go into this clash on the back of a demanding CAF Confederations Cup clash against Egyptian side ENPPI, a match where they managed to hold on for a 0-0 draw.

However, coach Gavin Hunt is hopeful that the experience of taking on some of the stronger side in the continent will give his side an edge in the domestic league.

“It was a great result for us away from home as they are the best team we have played in this competition so far,” Hunt said.

“We don't play teams like that every day in the PSL – and that's totally the difference.

“But is good for us – it's good for our team and for individual players. It makes men out of boys so we can't complain.”

Matsatsantsa are unbeaten in their last fifteen matches in all competitions and win could see them overtaking Bidvest Wits to sit in fourth place.

“We've gone a couple of games unbeaten now, which is important,” Hunt added.

“We're coming to the business part of the season now. It doesn't matter where you are in the league, whether you're jockeying for relegation, top eight, winning the league, the Nedbank Cup and the CAF Cup.”

The first league meeting of the season between the two sides which took place in Pietermaritzburg ended in a 0-0 draw.

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