Two first-half goals by Jeremy Brockie at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday earned SuperSport United a 2-0 win on the night and a 3-2 aggregate victory in their MTN8 semifinal against Maritzburg United.
The KZN Capital team, backed by a fanatical home crowd, produced some attractive football and were not overrun by SuperSport, but it was the cup specialists from Tshwane who showed their greater experience in key moments of the game, both in defence and in the opposition box.
After Bradley Grobler had gone close with a second-minute header, Brockie, who unsuccessfully tried to orchestrate a move to Mamelodi Sundowns in the off-season, put the visitors in front on 12 minutes when he got just enough on his header to beat Bongani Mpandle.
The home side, who had beaten Sundowns in the opening round of the competition, enjoyed exciting passages of intricate inter-passing in their attempts to get back into the match, but never really managed to pry open the SuperSport defence.
Maritzburg did, however, appear unlucky not to be given a penalty in the 17th minute when Morgan Gould’s pull on Evans Rusike stopped the Zimbabwean from converting Bandile Shandu’s inviting cross.
Brockie could have doubled the lead on the half hour mark when he smashed a volley over the bar after Thus Phala’s cross had found him unmarked at the back post before Phala went close himself a few minutes later.
Team of Choice youngster Siphesihle Ndlovu was then rather fortunate to receive only a yellow card for a nasty challenge on Grant Kekana.
It was 2-0 on the night in the 44th minute when Kekana picked out Tebogo Mokoena at the back post, who headed the ball across goal for Brockie to nod home clinically.
Maritzburg were to increase the pressure after the restart with Matsatsantsa soon finding themselves on the back-foot, but the final, killer pass continued to elude Fadlu Davids’ men.
It just wasn’t to be for the Team of Choice in their quest for a first ever cup final appearance as substitute Andrea Fillecia missed two great chances although on each occasion the off-side flag was raised afterwards.
Things got worse when another substitute, Timothy Atouba, got sent off 13 minutes from time – on his debut, for what were two needless infringements.
Some solid goalkeeping from Ronwen Williams in the closing minutes ensured there was no way back for Maritzburg as SuperSport completed a job well done in KZN.
SuperSport will play either Bidvest Wits or Cape Town City in the final, both clubs being former teams of their head coach Eric Tinkler. The Cape side have a 1-0 lead going into Sunday’s game in Johannesburg.
For full match commentary click here.
– African News Agency (ANA)
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