Pieterse heroics as SuperSport KO Chiefs

Cup Competitions

JOHANNESBURG – He is flying under the radar lately, but Baroka FC coach Kgoloko Thobejane once gave us a memorable quote in a television interview. “Football, this thing, can kill you,” the rookie mentor from Limpopo told his interviewer some time this season.

His Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United counterparts will attest to that following a battle of wits here on Saturday night in the fight for a place in the semi-finals of the Nedbank Cup, where Matsatsantsa emerged 5-3 winners on penalties to progress to the last four of the lucrative cup, the quarter-final having ended 1-1 after extra time.

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Jeremy Brockie of Supersport United leaves Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Willard Katsande in his wake on Saturday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePixRamahlwe Mphahlele of Kaizer Chiefs celebrates his goal against SuperSport. Photo: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePixKaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela is under pressure to clinch silverware. Photo: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

Steve Komphela, the Amakhosi coach, is a man in need of a first major cup in his career in the elite league.

And with his second year at Naturena almost up, the pressure has been mounting, especially seeing that he now has to attempt to annex the championship as the only piece of silverware on offer now.

With the Absa Premiership title chase still a five-horse race, some of the eggs were spread into the Nedbank Cup basket, but no more.

Ditto SuperSport, with Baxter looking for a win here to lift the sinking morale following three consecutive league defeats, results that have most likely ended their Premier League ambitions – although stranger things have happened.

Both sides were evenly matched, especially when the game opened up late in the second half after striker Jeremy Brockie broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute.

This encounter was so tight that you would have thought SuperSport had probably done enough with that lethal finish from the Kiwi, who struck a hard low shot to beat goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune after Thabo Mnyamane picked him out in the Chiefs box.

It wasn’t long before Amakhosi were level pegging, Ramahlwe Mphahlele out-jumping his defensive opposite number Onismor Bhasera to head home the equaliser.

The thrills and spills would have been hazardous to anyone with a fragile heart as the game went into extra time for an even more intense last few minutes to fight for a place in the semi-finals of a domestic cup that serves as a qualifier for the CAF Confederation Cup for the winners.

Kaizer Chiefs coach Steve Komphela is under pressure to clinch silverware. Photo: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

Chiefs would have been deserved winners, but much can be said about SuperSport, who were bailed out by goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse in extra time when the former Amakhosi keeper denied striker Bernard Parker what would have been a guaranteed winning goal from a spot-kick.

William Twala, a late entry into the game as a substitute, blitzed past Michael Boxall to deliver was ultimately a tame effort for a cross, but Dean Furman made a mess of things when he used his arm to try and control the ball.

Referee Victor Gomes, notorious for dishing out penalties, really had no choice.

But Pieterse was up to the task, guessing correctly to leave Parker, his teammates and the Chiefs fans shell-shocked.

It had to be settled with the lottery of a penalty shoot-out, where visitors SuperSport United converted all five of their spot kicks, while George Maluleka missed his – giving Matsatsantsa an edge to see them win 5-3 to progress to the last four of the cup.

Football, this thing, will kill you.

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