Supersport is focused on narrowing the gap
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.”