Su­per­sport is fo­cused on nar­row­ing the gap

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - Sport - BONGINKOSI NDADANE

SU­PER­SPORT United coach Kai­tano Tembo of­fered the per­fect de­scrip­tion of the sec­ond half of the sea­son which they started in dra­matic fash­ion by giv­ing Kaizer Chiefs only their sec­ond loss in the Absa Premier­ship this cam­paign.

Mat­sat­santsa a Pi­tori, who have al­ready won the MTN8 this sea­son, have set them­selves the huge task of en­sur­ing that their league form matches their cup form. Su­per­sport are cup spe­cial­ists, able to nick a tro­phy even when they are strug­gling in the bread and but­ter that is league foot­ball. But that good cup run has come at a cost to their league form.

The Pre­to­ria gi­ants are a shadow of the team that won a hat-trick of suc­ces­sive league ti­tles un­der Gavin Hunt. They are look­ing to change that with a man who has seen ev­ery­thing at the club in the 20 years he has spent there as a player and a coach at var­i­ous lev­els.

“The sec­ond round is dog-eat-dog,” Tembo said. “It’s not go­ing to be easy for any team be­cause teams are now look­ing for points. For us, we just have to try and take it game by game be­cause what’s im­por­tant is for us to con­cen­trate on our game and clos­ing the gap. We take ad­van­tage when we get it.

“We can only take ad­van­tage of the sit­u­a­tion if we win our games, we can’t re­ally rely on other peo­ple to do the busi­ness for us.”

Mat­sat­santsa put on a tac­ti­cal mas­ter­plan to do what only Polok­wane City had man­aged to do so far – beat the league lead­ers with a spir­ited per­for­mance at Mbombela Sta­dium on Satur­day.

“We knew that we had to be a lit­tle bit more pa­tient be­cause they were go­ing to have a lot of pos­ses­sion, but we had to de­ter­mine where they were go­ing to have the ball,” Tembo said. “I think we did that very well. We worked a lit­tle bit more with­out the ball.

“The main rea­son we did that was that we didn’t want to open up the game. They are very dan­ger­ous when they play long balls to (Samir) Nurkovic and (Leonardo) Cas­tro. “They play on the sec­ond ball. That’s where they are dan­ger­ous, but if they came with the short pass­ing, it wasn’t go­ing to be a prob­lem for us.”

Tembo con­tin­ued: “We de­fended very well, es­pe­cially the long balls to Nurkovic and Cas­tro.

“We dealt with sec­ond balls well. They had a few mo­ments where they man­aged to find spa­ces in be­tween our de­fence, but over­all we were very good. We had to use our speed go­ing for­ward be­cause their de­fence don’t like to be turned. We knew that. The full­backs go high up and we needed to use our speed into those chan­nels, and that’s how our goals came.”

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