By Michael Madyira
Cape Town Spurs edged closer to making a return to the Premier Soccer League after beating Maritzburg United 1-0 in a relegation/promotion playoffs clash at Athlone Stadium on Saturday.
Veteran midfielder Michael Morton struck 16 minutes into the contest to separate the two sides and help Spurs go three points clear at the top of the table.
Shaun Bartlett’s men could extend their lead if they beat bottom-placed Casric Stars on Wednesday.
Maritzburg went into Saturday’s match leading the table by a goal difference the result left them desperate and they are now in a must-win situation in their last two fixtures.
They visit Casric next Saturday and will wrap up the playoffs at home against Spurs as they bid to maintain their PSL status.
Spurs were missing forward Boitumelo Radiopane who had surgery on his ankle earlier this week.
The experience of veteran players Clayton Daniels, Nazzer Allie and Morton counted much for the hosts.
Maritzburg coach Fadlu Davds relegated Zambian striker Friday Samu to the bench and started Ali Meza.
It did not take long for the Urban Warriors to go ahead.
Lurking on the blind side, Morton capitalised to fire into an empty net after Maritzburg goalkeeper Renaldo Leaner missed the ball in an attempt to clear Nazeer Allie’s cross.
Spurs kept on pressing and Bradley Cross headed away a goal-bound flick from Rushwin Dortely in the 26th minute.
Maritzburg’s first real chance at goal came just after the half-hour mark when Amadou Soukouna lacked precision in his effort to connect a cross from Brandon Theron.
It was then a drab start to the second half with the teams not posing much threat to each other but with 17 minutes remaining, Daniels almost beat his goalkeeper Lincoln Vyver while trying to clear a Wayde Jooste cross.
Shortly after, Spurs had an excellent opportunity to make it 2-0 but substitute Luvuyo Phewa was denied by Leaner in a one-on-one situation.
The contest became lively with the Urban Warriors coming close again but Asley Cupido watched his low shot coming off the upright.
Phewa again came face-to-face with Leaner and the Maritzburg United custodian came best from the challenge with two minutes to go.
Pictured above: Cape Town Spurs players celebrating
Image source: Cape Town City