at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Johannesburg – SuperSport United skipper Thabo September admits his side will be under pressure to reach the final of the Telkom Knockout cup competition when they take on league strugglers Mamelodi Sundowns in their semi-final clash in Polokwane on Saturday.
“There is always pressure playing for SuperSport United,” September said on Thursday.
“We want to win every game we play, so we want to take it to the final and, at the end, win it.
“It does add a little bit of pressure that we made it to the semifinals.”
With United picking up eight draws from their 10 league outings, September admitted Saturday's encounter could well go the distance, with the ever present threat of a penalty shootout looming large.
“There is always the possibility,” he said.
“We have become the draw specialists this season in the league and we did the same against Ajax Cape Town in the cup.
“We haven't trained any penalties this week and we didn't train penalties against Ajax either and we progressed, so I think the coach believes we should stick to that as well.”
The skipper dismissed talk of United's superior form in the league, compared to their cup fixtures, insisting that both the league and the cup competitions were equally important for the club.
“There is no plan behind it,” he said.
“The ball is round and some games you win and some you draw.
“We go to each game to win it and in the league, if you draw, there are no shootouts to help.
“After every game, we have regrets, but we hope to put that behind us and make sure that we get some points or progress into the next round.”
Meanwhile, Sundowns' Abel Mabaso said the Premiership bottom feeders were relishing the opportunity to take on their bitter rivals once again.
He believed the derby clash would be as tight as when the sides met in the league in September, with the fixture ending in a goalless draw.
“We need to push and we need to play hard,” Mabaso said.
“We are two teams from Pretoria and two big teams in the Premier Soccer League.
“We want to go out there and give it our best for the club.
“What has happened before is irrelevant but we can't deny that it will be a close contest.
“Both sides really want to go through, so the match will be a tough one. We are looking forward to it and it will be a hard cup battle.”
Mabaso added that Saturday's fixture provided another opportunity for the Chloorkop outfit to regain some much needed form, while gathering momentum as the season approaches the halfway stage.
“The numbers don't lie,” Mabaso said of the Brazilians' league form.
“We need to stay positive. That's the only way we are going to come out of this situation.
“We as players talk to each other because it is not an ideal situation for any team, but there is no need to panic.
“We need to stay composed and we need to keep doing well for the club.” – Sapa