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Maritzburg v Orlando Pirates

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Middendorp: Confident

Middendorp: Confident

Maritzburg United are aiming for a return to winning ways but must see off the challenge of Orlando Pirates at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday to do so.

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The Team of Choice shot into the top-four of the Premier Soccer League standings with a phenomenal run that has been halted recently with two losses, 1-0 at home to Platinum Stars before a 1-0 away defeat to Ajax Cape Town.

Bucs, meanwhile, have stuttered slightly of late, drawing their last two encounters, 0-0 with Chippa United before being held to a 1-1 draw in the Soweto derby with Kaizer Chiefs.

But they are still very much in the PSL title race, just three points behind Amakhosi, with United a further five points off the pace.

Maritzburg boss Ernst Middendorp remains confident his side can rediscover their best form, after hitting out at the referee for their two recent set-backs.

Victor Gomes surprisingly officiated at both games, where he sent off United centre-back Mohamed Awal against Stars before dismissing assistant coach Ronnie Kanalelo and a medical staff member against Ajax.

But ahead of the Bucs test, he told the New Age: "So far quite a successful season, if we can end in position seven or eight it would have been a very successful season for us considering how we fared in the first round of the first campaign.

"We assembled a new team. Players like Terrence (Mandaza), Ruben (Cloete), (Mthokokisizi) Yende, they came here as second or third choice players at their previous teams, not having played over the two years, maybe six starts at their former teams."

Bucs boss Roger De Sar, meanwhile, is fully aware his charges have a difficult match on their hands this weekend.

He told Football411: "It is always difficult to play against Maritzburg United and maybe a little easier this time around because it is a neutral ground.

"They have had a good season, but it is important for us to win every game we play."

United have a number of players suspended, including Gehard Van Der Merwe, Filemon Kanalelo and Mohammed Awal.

Posted: 13/12/12 13:06

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