Maritzburg United 1-2 Free State Stars: Ea Lla Koto secure maiden victory in 2019
Goals from Relebogile Mokhuoane and Sinethemba Jantjie secured the victory for Ea Lla Koto, while Deolin Mekoa netted for the Team of Choice

Maritzburg United succumbed to a 2-1 defeat to Free State Stars in a PSL encounter which was played on Wednesday night.

The Team of Choice were keen to snap their nine-match winless run in the league having lost 2-0 to Lamontville Golden Arrows in their previous match over the weekend.

Muhsin Ertugral made three changes to the starting line-up with Mamelodi Sundowns loanee Keletso Makgalwa starting up front alongside Andrea Fileccia.

Ea Lla Koto were eager to avoid their fifth successive defeat having succumbed to a 2-1 defeat to Bidvest Wits in their previous game over the weekend.

Nikola Kazavovic made only one change to the team that took on the Clever Boys with Nyiko Mobbie replacing Tshepo Tema, who was serving a suspension.

Stars were looking to continue their dominance over Maritzburg having defeated the hosts in their last two matches including the 2018 Nedbank Cup final.

The visitors were the better side in the opening stages of the game with Yusuf Jappie causing havoc for the Maritzburg defence with his movement and long-range shots.

The Stars winger watched on in disbelief as his shot was cleared off the goal-line by Brian Onyango Mandela, who made a world-class block.

Maritzburg goalkeeper Ghana goalkeeper Richard Ofori has been a pillar of strength for the home side this season. The Ghana international made three good saves to deny Stars trio of Harris Tchilimbou, Mobbie and Jappie.

The Team of Choice then scored against the run of play in first-half stoppage time following a great move involving Mxolisi Kunene, Yazid Atouba and Deolin Mekoa.

Atouba set-up Mekoa from Kunene's cross and the left-footed midfielder scored with a well-taken shot from outside the box to make it 1-0 to Maritzburg.

It was not surprising that the Team of Choice had scored just before the half-time break as they had netted majority of their goals (20.0%) between the 30th minute and 45th minute.

The score was 1-0 to Maritzburg following a lively first half in the city of Pietermaritzburg.

Ea Lla Koto pressed the Team of Choice after the restart and they should have level matters through Makhehlene Makhaula a few minutes into the second half.

Patrick Phungwayo delivered a quality cross for an unmarked Makhaula inside the Maritzburg box, but somehow the midfielder placed his shot wide of the target.

Stars kept piling pressure on the hosts' defence and they deservedly restored parity after a good move by the visitors with 16 minutes left on the clock.

Sinethemba Jantjie's set-up Relebogile Mokhuoane from Mobbie's cross and the midfielder scored with a cheeky back-heel to make it 1-1 with the hosts' defence caught ball watching.

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The momentum was with Ea Lla Koto with the Team of Choice's struggling to contain Wits-bound winger Jantjie, who recently signed a pre-contract with the Johannesburg-based side.

The skillful attacker put his name on the score sheet when scored from the edge of the box - sealing Stars' 2-1 win victory over Maritzburg in the latter stages of the match.

The victory took Stars to 13th place on the league standings - four points above the relegation play-off spot, while the Team of Choice remained in 16th spot.

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