Premium Journalist
2 minute read
12 Feb 2017
6:03 pm

SuperSport’s CAF campaign still intact


Boalefa Pule, SuperSport United’s third-choice goalkeeper, played a blinder at the Stade Municipal de Mahamasina in Madagascar on Sunday to help his side earn a 0-0 draw against ASSM Elgeco Plus.

NELSPRUIT, SOUTH AFRICA - NOVEMBER 29: SuperSport United after scoring a goal during the Absa Premiership match between SuperSport United and Bidvest Wits at Mbombela Stadium on November 29, 2016 in Nelspruit, South Africa. (Photo by Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images)

The first half of the 2017 Confederation Cup preliminary round first leg encounter in Antananarivo was evenly balanced with not too much goal-mouth action.

While SuperSport had chances to claim victory in the second stanza, it also took some fine goalkeeping from Pule, who is behind Ronwen Williams and Reyaad Pieterse in the pecking order, to secure the draw.

Thuso Phala had Matsatsantsa’s first opportunity of the game, but his 14th minute effort was saved.

The Madagascar team had the backing of their fervent home fans, but couldn’t muster much more than a misguided long range shot or two before the interval.

SuperSport’s best chance of the opening 45 minutes came just before the break, but having been played in by an excellent ball from Michael Morton, Thabo Mnyamane was unable to hit the target.

Stuart Baxter’s team continued to press for a goal after the restart, but couldn’t find the break they needed in front of goal as Clayton Daniels headed wide in the 50th minute before Fagrie Lakay beat two defenders shortly afterwards, only to strike the woodwork.

Jeremy Brockie then missed a chance to score with only the keeper to beat 15 minutes from time.

Pule, who has never played in the PSL, was all the while proving his worth in goal and made several outstanding saves to stop ASSM Elgeco Plus from netting after they had gained some serious momentum in the final 30 minutes of the match.

The Nedbank Cup champions found themselves under severe pressure in the closing minutes of the game and only some more superb goalkeeping by Pule, and some wasteful finishing from the home side, enabled SuperSport to claim the draw.

The return game is scheduled to take place in Pretoria next weekend. If Matsatsantsa are able to overcome their opponents from the east African island, they will be up against Sudanese outfit Al-Ahly Shendi in the first round proper.