Su­perS­port are CHAMPS

Bax­ter fin­ishes his time at United with an em­phatic win over hap­less Pi­rates, who just couldn’t get into the game

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI at Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

What a way to end a club coach­ing ca­reer! Stu­art Bax­ter could not have asked for a more per­fect farewell than win­ning the Ned­bank Cup with Su­perS­port United.

In fact, when Bax­ter left Kaizer Chiefs three sea­sons ago, the Ned­bank Cup was the fi­nal tro­phy he de­liv­ered for Amakhosi. Not only that, this was the first ti­tle he won for United last sea­son. In the process, United be­came the first side to de­fend their ti­tle and they did this in an as­ton­ish­ing way by de­mol­ish­ing Pi­rates, who had no an­swers for their on­slaught.

The heavy de­feat once again sig­nalled what a sea­son Pi­rates had. No top eight, no tro­phy and no con­ti­nen­tal foot­ball – again. It can not get any worse than this as they have noth­ing to show for it.

It will also raise ques­tions about the fu­ture of coach Kjell Jonevret, who has clearly failed to yield the ex­pected changes to the side.

The open­ing half be­longed to United, who took con­trol of the game from the first whis­tle un­til the ref­eree blew for half time. Statis­tics do not lie and ev­ery­thing pointed to­wards United, who had 11 cor­ners to show for their ef­forts. Not only that, they also had a goal to prove their dom­i­nance af­ter Bradley Grob­ler put them ahead in the 32nd minute.

Pi­rates were guilty of ball watch­ing in their own half as they af­forded United players too much space. And they paid heav­ily for this when Grob­ler ben­e­fited from a Grant Kekana cross, which caught them nap­ping at the back. United showed their in­ten­tions early on as they took the game to Pi­rates, hop­ing to catch them while still cold, but the Buc­ca­neers held on un­til they were breached by Grob­ler’s ef­fort.

As for Pi­rates, they had noth­ing to come back with as they strug­gled to string a few passes to­gether. They only had two cor­ner kicks, which did not trou­ble United’s rear guard.

The big ques­tion com­ing into this en­counter was whether Pi­rates were af­fected by the long break – they last played in the fi­nal game of the league in May, while United have been play­ing com­pet­i­tively in the CAF Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup.

Even though they strug­gled to get into the game, Pi­rates did not show any signs of rusti­ness, while United were al­ways on the up.

United failed to kill off the game when Jeremy Brockie missed from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute. But credit should go to Siyabonga Mpontshane, who guessed cor­rectly to keep Pi­rates in the game. But that counted for noth­ing as Brockie made up for his miss with a well-taken header in the 60th minute. It was not over yet, and Grob­ler grabbed his brace few min­utes later. Then sub­sti­tute Kingston Nkhatha put the fi­nal nail in the cof­fin a few min­utes af­ter com­ing on for Grob­ler.

Oupa Many­isa scored Pi­rates’ con­so­la­tion goal from the spot kick in added time. Su­perS­port United: Bradley Grob­ler ’32 and ’63; Jeremy Brockie ’60; Kingston Nkhatha ’80 Or­lando Pi­rates: Oupa Many­isa

PHOTO: MUZI NTOMBELA / BACKPAGEPIX

QUAN­TUM LEAP Bradley Grob­ler of Su­perS­port United is chal­lenged by Pa­trick Phung­wayo of Or­lando Pi­rates dur­ing their Ned­bank Cup fi­nal in Dur­ban last night

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