Rangers march to the top

Kamlesh Gosai

Manning Rangers came through their sticky goal-scoring patch to post a 2-0 win over Classic and climb to a joint position at the top of the log at the weekend.

Only goal difference places the Maulers in third spot behind Sundowns and Free State Stars.

While relieved that the team displayed "a professional, disciplined performance", coach Gordon Igesund maintained that league honours will only be possible if they are within range of the leaders at the halfway stage of the season. "Right now I am happy that we are 60% of the way towards performing the way I believe the team is capable of performing. Against Classic it was not easy. They were unbeaten at home and I don't think any of the Gauteng teams gave us a chance of winning. The crowd was very intimidating and the pitch was very bumpy. Overall it was a good game, a solid convincing victory. We were playing a good team and had to consolidate in areas. But we kept pegging away at them and I knew it would only be a matter of time before we scored."

And this they did in the second half when Zimbabwean international striker Gilbert Mushangazikhe headed in a cross from the left by winger Japhet Zwane. Having started most of the Maulers' games this season Igesund decided that Zwane needed to be brought on as a substitute to overcome his lack of confidence: "He was just not playing that well. He was lacking confidence; and when you start every match you feel under pressure. He did well because there was less pressure. Last season he played in the First Division. There's a big difference in the PSL. The pace is much faster and he needs a little time to settle."

Zwane was brought on in place of Reagan Stuart, who started his first match of the season.

The match also saw Mozambican international midfielder Antonio Trigo take to the field for the first time this season when he replaced Liswa Nduti after the interval. Without much of a break, Igesund and his charges will be up against Umtata Bucks at the Chatsworth stadium on Wednesday at 8pm. After losing their first six league matches Bucks team will be desperate to improve their fortunes.

"From what I've seen of them they have had opportunities. They are in a slump and I don't want to see them correct that against us," said Igesund.