JOHANNESBURG – It was still more entertaining watching the brass band in action than these two teams, but SuperSport United are still quite determined to stay in the Absa Premiership title race following a 1-0 win over Wits on Tuesday night.
It was their absent coach Stuart Baxter, who took ill on Monday afternoon and was told to sit the next two matches out to recover fully, who said Matsatsantsa would continue to make a nuisances of themselves in the race for the championship.
Bidvest Wits had all the possession but hardly looked a threat as the visitors pretty much ‘stole’ the three points to revive their fading title hopes.
Wits needed a boost of their own, playing in their own background and attempting to pull away from the chasing pack by overtaking leaders Cape Town City.
They were stopped dead in their tracks, but it wasn’t that emphatic to witness.
Deep into the second half, some eight minutes after Wits had introduced attacker Phakamani Mahlambi to be a livewire, it was winger Thuso Phala who grabbed what proved to be the winning goal, making their next clash against Kaizer Chiefs at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit all the more enticing.
Such was SuperSport’s pedestrian display that they needed a bit of help in the lead up to Phala’s clever finish to break the deadlock. Buhle Mkhwanazi, usually cautious and calm in his own box, carelessly gave the ball away to the onrushing Thabo Mnyamane, who unselfishly sent his teammate through to put SuperSport ahead.
The brass band went silent.
It will prove to be a deflating defeat for the Clever Boys in their quest to clinch the club’s first ever Premier League title. This is not the time to be so timid, especially at home. While they were away a week ago against Cape Town City, who remain log leaders following their 3-2 win over Chiefs in the Mother City, Wits scored first but were forced to share the spoils.
The Clever Boys, who dropped to third place, are battling to take points away from their title rivals having lost to Sundowns in February and face them again on Monday afternoon on the public holiday here. But they travel to Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa on Friday to face relegation threatened Highlands Park, a side they can brush aside on paper, but with Gordon Igesund’s men fighting for their lives to avoid the drop, a positive outcome is not so easy to predict.
SuperSport on the other hand could feel they can kick on as they host a Chiefs side they dumped out of the Nedbank Cup quarterfinals at the weekend, albeit on penalties. With Baxter must be itching to get back in the dugout, but even in absentia, his men have responded incredibly to being written off as title contenders. But the nine point gap at the top could still prove to be mission impossible.