United e ye elu­sive cup glory

Su­perS­port face de­fend­ing champs Stars in Telkom Knock­out fi­nal to­day

Weekend Witness - - Spor T -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG — Su­perS­port United will look to make it “third time lucky” in to­day’s Telkom Knock­out fi­nal against de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Plat­inum St ars in So weto.

United have fin­ished the com­pe­ti­tion as run­ners­up on two oc­ca­sions, in the suc­ces­sive years of 2004 and 2005, but have never lifted the League Cup in any of it s guise s.

An ap­pear ance in the fi­nal look ed highly un­lik ely at the s tart of Su­perS­port’s sea­son un­der C avin J ohn­son.

United s tut­tered to a sin­gle vict ory in five games be­fore John­son was shown the door.

In stepped Gor­don Ige­sund, who is at­tempt­ing to lift his fir st trophy with his new team just three months into the de­mand­ing job . “R egardless of w ho you’re coach­ing, you want to win tr ophies,” Ige­sund said ahead of to­day’s fi­nal at Or lando St adium.

“Win­ning a league cham­pi­onship is the ul­ti­mate. It’s the tough­est of all. But a cup com­pe­ti­tion gives an op­por­tu­nity to every­body be­cause it’s three or four games and y ou’re int o the fi­nal.

“It’s hugely im­por­tant to win sil­ver­ware. It makes the sup­port­ers and the club very happy. It’s all about win­ning things and both teams have this op­por­tu­nity o ver the w eek­end.”

The f ormer na­tional c oach has steered Su­perS­port p ast F ree St ate Stars, Wits and Or­lando Pi­rates on the way to seven out of nine vic­to­ries in all matches since tak­ing over in Septem­ber.

Mat­sat­santsa face a Stars out­fit who have be­come used to be­ing con­sid­ered out­siders, de spite be­ing the curr ent hold­ers.

Last sea­son, Dik­wena lifted both the MTN8 and Knock­out ti­tles, both times against Or­lando Pi­rates, when a win for Al­lan Freese’s team was con­sid­ered im­prob­a­ble.

Stars have al­ready made their in­ten­tions clear this sea­son, beat­ing Chippa United, Chief s and M amelodi Sun­downs on their w ay t o the fi­nal.

The Rusten­burg out­fit f aced an un­beaten Chiefs side in the sec­ond round, elim­i­nat­ing the runa way Amakhosi train on penaltie s, bef ore ous ting de­fend­ing P remier­ship cham­pi­ons Sun­downs, c ourtesy of Eleaz ar R odgers’ sec­ond half goal against his for­mer em­ploy­ers.

“If you beat K aizer Chiefs and Ma­ melodi Sun­downs on the way to reach­ing the fi­nal, y ou’ve done a good job,” Ige­sund said of Stars’ strong per­for­mances.

“We have a lot of r es­pect f or Al­lan and his team. We know they will be very com­pet­i­tive and if w e w ant t o beat them, we’re go­ing to have to be at our best on the da y.”

Freese will look to de­ploy Rodgers in­ side the op­po­si­tion’ s ar ea much the same as he did ag ainst Sundo wns.

“We’ve been strug­gling a lit­tle bit to score goals,” Freese, a man of efw words, said.

“I’m happ y that Eleaz ar has been scor­ing a g oal her e and ther e.

“It’ll be good for us to de­fend the trophy.”

The striker scored his first ever Pre­ mier­ship hat­trick las t week­end for an im­pres­sive four­goal tally from his last two games, mak­ing the f ormer San­tos at­tacker the man to watch in the Dik­wena t eam.

On the Su­perS­port side, Dove Wome poses the big­gest threat go­ing for­ward. The striker, cur­rently on loan from Sun­downs, has net ted se ven g oals in 1 3 games f or I gesund’s t eam. — S apa.

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