Supersport beat the script and Polokwane City, climb to third spot
JOHANNESBURG - SuperSport United revived their chances of playing continental football next season after climbing to the third spot on the Premiership standings, thanks to the 2-0 victory over relegation threatened Polokwane City at Bidvest Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
The ask of playing a match at least after every three days has been daunting for most teams, as they've squandered points which they were expected to bag with ease. But it’s rather been a different script for SuperSport thus far.
The Tshwane-based side appears to be gaining momentum by every match-day and having accumulated full points here today served as evidence of their ability to adjust to the demands of restart of the season after starting off with the lacklustre 1-1 draw with Bloemfontein Celtic on Sunday.
Or perhaps, many may argue in the first game that, Kaitano Tembo’s men were still wrapping their heads around the departure of skipper and engine room marshal Dean Furman, who left the club at the end of his contract to reunite with his wife and first born in England.
Without Furman at first, there was more bad than good as their lack of discipline, even from his successor Ronwen Wiiliams, cost the team a chance to consolidate a top three spot.
But they wouldn’t have such acts of demeanour here today – especially with Williams on a mini-vacation in the first half as his team went into the interval in full control.
The engine room was stable, stabilised by 21-year-old Jesse Donn who was making his first appearance of the season and eager to impress coach Tembo who’s still in search of Furman’s full-time replacement.
Donn got the rare start after Sipho Mbule picked up his fourth yellow card against Celtic. But the former stuck to basics, being a link between defence and Teboho Mokoena who was the supplier for the striking contingent.
The organisation of the engine room bore fruit for the home side from the outset, with Ghampani Lungu who was making his first start since the resumption, ensuring that his team took a slender lead to the break.
Yet to warm up to the start of the game, City’s midfielder Salulani Phiri gave the ball clumsily to Bradley Grober who made a defence splitting pass to Lungu who calmly finished the move by slotting past George Chigova.
Soon after, the Zambian international should have grabbed his brace but he put his header wide after intercepting a delightful delivery from Guily Manziba down the right wing.
Manziba should have grabbed his assist hadn't Aubrey Modiba and Grobler failed to put his trademark deliveries into good use early in the second half.
Modiba unceremoniously skied what should have been an easy tap-in into the stands, while Grobler’s header was acrobatically cleared away from danger by Chigova.
But Grobler made up for the missed opportunity late into stoppage heading home Kudakwashe Mahachi's delivery from close range as he increased his league tally to 13 goals, one behind leading the league's top goal scorer Gabdinho Mhango.
At the end it was three points for SuperSport, who’ll start to fancy their chances of playing in Africa next season, while City continue to rut in the relegation dogfight, having also lost the first game since the restart by 3-2 to leaders Kaizer Chiefs.
SuperSport United (2) (0)
Lungu 8’ and Grobler 90+1
Polokwane City (0) (0)