ATTERIDGEVILLE – SuperSport United will have to fast-track their search for Jeremy Brockie’s replacement after Polokwane City punished them at the death for not giving themselves a good cushion after taking the lead.
Puleng Tlolane scored in the last minute of optional time to secure a 1-1 draw on Tuesday night and broke the hearts of Matsatsantsa a Pitori, who thought they had registered their third win in 12 matches.
The goals have dried up for the once free-scoring Matsatsanta, a problem that’s compounded by losing their top marksman Brockie to their crosstown rivals Mamelodi Sundowns.
But even before Brockie left, contributing just one goal in 14 matches as he sulked his way out of Matsatsantsa, the Tshwane side were still without their deadly sting upfront which is why they find themselves in this slump.
Things aren’t exactly rosy at Rise and Shine. The Polokwane side came into this match with just two wins from their last nine matches.
To remedy that, coach Bernard Molekwa started with a three-pronged attack led by Rendani Ndou, who was supported by Rodney Ramagalela and Puleng Tlolane on either flanks.
The aim was to use the trio’s speed to open up Matsatsantsa a Pitori’s slow central-defence pairing.
This forced Molekwa to relegate Dominic Chungwa to the bench even though the Zimbabwean forward scored on debut against Orlando Pirates. That plan didn’t see the light of day.
Ndou was injured 16 minutes into the match which fast-tracked the introduction of the physically-imposing and strong Chungwa who lacks speed.
Despite that, Rise and Shine continued to look to use pace to open SuperSport – pressing them high.
That left the visitors vulnerable at the back. They ended up making unnecessary fouls when they were beaten on the counter without cover left behind.
Such a foul resulted in SuperSport taking the lead through Gould who headed Dean Furman’s cross past goalkeeper George Chigova.
SuperSport didn’t make the most of Polokwane’s shortcomings at the back. The hosts, at best, attacked with caution – passing around responsibility with no one brave enough to take matters into his own hands.
At worst, their decision-making in the box was terrible, showing why they came into this match with just one goal in the six matches they played before this one.
The pitch that was immaculate and lush green in November for the second leg of the Caf Confederation Cup final was worse for wear in the first PSL match here since that encounter.
In between that time, this venue hosted the Lucas “Masterpieces” Moripe Goodwill Games, which saw the pitch take a hammering.
The pitch’s state resembled SuperSport. The Tshwane giants looked impressive in November, on the edge of becoming continental champions for the first time to add to the MTN8 title they won in October.
But two months later they are in a terrible state, lower than a snake’s stomach due to their struggle for consistency and goals.
Part of that is the heavy workload competing on the continent took on the players.
But the main reason is the psychological blow they were dealt by losing a trophy that would have seen the players etch their names in the club’s history.
The desperation to turn things around is so high that even the club’s chief executive, Stan Matthews, spurred the players on just before the start of the second half – encouraging Teboho Mokoena to be more forceful upfront and psyching up Thuso Phala, who dipped in and out of the match.
Those words of encouragement fell on deaf ears as Tlolane helped City steal a point here.