16.03.2018 23:37 h

South African fairytale side Maritzburg win to go third

Star-less Maritzburg United continued a fairytale South African Premiership season by beating Polokwane City 2-1 at home Friday to go third with six matches remaining.

A top-three finish would qualify the club from eastern city Pietermaritzburg a place in one of the two 2019 CAF club competitions.

When the league kicked off last August, pundits believed Maritzburg would be a mid-table team at best, especially with inexperienced Fadlu Davids the coach.

But victory over relegation-threatened Polokwane at Harry Gwala Stadium was the 10th in 24 matches and the "Team of Choice" have lost only six.

They also received a favourable home draw in the South African FA Cup quarter-finals this week and winning that competition would be another route into Africa.

United trail leaders Mamelodi Sundowns by five points and Orlando Pirates by one and are a point ahead of fourth-place Free State Stars, another surprise packet.

Davids was his usual humble self after a win achieved through goals from Pogiso Sanako on seven minutes and potential star Siphesihle Ndlovu 15 minutes from time.

"All the credit must go to the players," he insisted. "Losing defender Brian Onyango early was a blow and we had to dig deep for this victory."

Polokwane, whose Malawian Muhammad Sulumba pulled one goal back with three minutes left, lie 12th in the 16-club standings, but are just three points above the relegation zone.

"The goals we conceded were soft," lamented City coach Bernard Molekwa. "We need to mark tighter in defence and be more ruthless in attack."