Kutumela brace inspires Maritzburg to victory
Maritzburg United ended their 14-match winless streak on Friday evening as new head coach Eric Tinkler steered his side to a 3-1 victory over Polokwane City at Harry Gwala Stadium.
Tinkler was brought in as Muhsin Ertugral's replacement at the end of January, and after suffering a 1-0 defeat to Bidvest Wits in his first game at the helm, the former Chippa United head coach managed to steer United to a much-deserved victory in his first home game.
The Team of Choice started the match on the front foot and claimed the lead after just four minutes of play, Thabiso Kutumela heading home from close range as Polokwane failed to clear their lines.
Maritzburg continued to press forward as they went in search of a second goal, with Polokwane struggling to recover from the early goal.
They very nearly claimed a second in the 12th minute, but Mohau Mokate was unable to direct his header on target after being picked out in the box by Kutumela.
The hosts kept prodding and probing at the Polokwane defence and they eventually found the opening they were looking for on the half-hour mark as Mokate converted at the far post following some great work in the build-up by Fortune Makaringe.
Polokwane eventually managed to create two good chances in the closing stages of the first half, but a lack of cutting edge in front of goal let them down as Bongile Booi failed to find the mark on both occasions.
Maritzburg came flying out of the traps after the half-time interval and their bright start paid off once again as they added a third goal in the 51st minute. Kutumela latched onto a neat pass from Makaringe in the centre of the area before firing a low shot into the right-hand corner.
Polokwane redoubled their efforts after falling further behind, and they were handed a lifeline when Mushumba headed home in the 59th minute to make it 3-1.
However, they were unable to add to their solitary goal as the chances dried up in the final stages of the contest, while Martizburg threatened to add a fourth on more than one occasion.
Substitute Judas Moseamedi saw his low shot kept out by Polokwane keeper George Chigova in the 70th minute, before Makaringe fired into the side netting after being teed up by the on-loan Cape Town City striker.
But that was the last action of note as Maritzburg comfortably held on to claim their first home win of the season and a vital three points in their quest to beat the drop.