United are vic­to­ri­ous

Sun­downs brought their A-game, but in the end, it came down to a penalty shoot-out

CityPress - - News - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI at Lu­cas Moripe Sta­dium ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

Mamelodi Sun­downs’ loss to Su­per­Sport United in the Telkom Knock­out is good news to the Premier Soc­cer League. Even though they won’t come out openly to thank United, the league would have been happy with the out­come of this en­counter.

Rea­son be­ing Sun­downs can now fo­cus on their league pro­gramme as they are about five games be­hind. Their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Fifa Club World Cup in De­cem­ber would have in­creased their back­log even more if they were still in­volved in the Telkom Knock­out com­pe­ti­tion.

The de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons lost out to a deter­mined and hard-work­ing United, who played for al­most an hour with a man down af­ter Onis­mor Bhasera’s red card in the 64th minute.

In a week when the Soweto derby was crit­i­cised for fail­ing to live up to ex­pec­ta­tions, the Tsh­wane derby tried to bring back the aura of the derbies.

This is what derby foot­ball should be about: en­ter­tain­ment and in­ter­est­ing – as dis­played here by the two Tsh­wane sides, Mamelodi Sun­downs and Su­per­Sport United. De­spite lack­ing goals, as the game ended in a goal­less draw, it had all the char­ac­ter­is­tics of an archri­val af­fair – yel­low cards, fly­ing tack­les and even a red card.

This was a thrilling game to watch, par­tic­u­larly the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons as they got out off the blocks quickly, forc­ing United to re­treat in num­bers. Sun­downs were easy on the eye as they put to­gether neat in­ter-passes to the de­light of the crowd, but lacked the killer in­stinct in front of goal.

Young Percy Tau is grow­ing in stature in ev­ery time he plays and was a con­stant threat to the United rear­guard. His pace and calm­ness in front of goal gave United’s de­fence all sorts of trou­ble. They did not know how to deal with him.

Then there were Khama Bil­liat and Kea­gan Dolly, who did not want to be left be­hind in tor­ment­ing the hosts. How­ever, they were still un­able to un­lock United, as Ron­wen Wil­liams stood his ground in front of goal.

The Brazil­ians turned up the heat dur­ing ex­tra time, try­ing to avoid go­ing to penal­ties. But their con­stant raid on the United goal­mouth area did not yield any re­sults un­til ref­eree Vic­tor Gomes sig­nalled the end of the game, mean­ing penal­ties were needed to sep­a­rate the two Tsh­wane sides.

Downs missed three spot kicks through An­thony Laf­for, Thabo Nthethe and Sibu­siso Vilakazi. Ricardo Nasci­mento was the only scorer.

United’s three spot kicks were con­verted by Dean Fur­man, Clay­ton Daniels and Aubrey Modiba.

Mean­while, last sea­son’s Telkom Knock­out fi­nal­ists Kaizer Chiefs have hopes of clinch­ing this sea­son’s ver­sion af­ter los­ing to Mamelodi Sun­downs in the pre­vi­ous fi­nal.

Win­ning the tour­na­ment would re­vi­talise Steve Kom­phela’s coach­ing ca­reer, which started in 2002. He has noth­ing to show for it.

On his way to­wards the last four of the tour­na­ment is his for­mer club, Free State Stars, who taught him the ropes as a player and coach.

So, there won’t be any love lost be­tween the two par­ties when they meet this af­ter­noon at the Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium in Dur­ban at 3pm.

The semi-fi­nal draw will be con­ducted live on tele­vi­sion af­ter this match.

PHOTO: LUCKY SHIVAMBU

CLOSE CALL, BUT VIC­TORY COMES Lu­vuyo Memela of Or­lando Pi­rates dur­ing the Telkom Knock­out quar­ter­fi­nal match High­lands Park at Or­lando Sta­dium yes­ter­day. Pi­rates won the game 2-1

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