SuperSport United are still alive in MTN8 Cup semi, says Kaitano Tembo
PRETORIA - SUPERSPORT United will have plenty of work to do in their MTN8 semi-final second leg clash against Bloemfontein Celtic this Saturday after playing to a 1-1 draw with Siwelele at Lucas Moripe Stadium yesterday.
Celtic will no doubt be the happier of the two teams. They take a vital away goal heading into the second leg which they will be playing at home.
But all is not lost for SuperSport, said coach Kaitano Tembo. “It was not a good first-half performance. They dominated possession. We changed a bit in the second half and had more opportunities. In the second half, our defenders were better. We have to take the positives from the game. It is played over two legs and we are still alive,” said Tembo.
While Celtic coach John Maduka was satisfied by his team’s performance, he was aware that they could have won the game had they punished SuperSport more for their poor defending in the first half.
“We started the game very well and created a lot of opportunities in the first half. If we were sharp, we could have won the game in the first half. If you miss opportunities, it can get back at you. The weather affected us when it started raining very heavily. We have an advantage but the game is still very much on,” said Maduka.
Veteran Celtic attacker Ndumiso Mabena opened the scoring in the 14th minute.
Mabena capitalised from a brilliant flick from Victor Letsoalo before calmly slotting the ball past Ronwen Williams.
SuperSport’s defensive fragilities were clear in the first half. There appeared to be too much space between the established defensive pairing of Clayton Daniels and Bongani Khumalo, which was exploited by Celtic.
Though SuperSport had a few opportunities in the first half, none of them really troubled the Celtic goal. Celtic did pretty well to curb the threat of SuperSport striker and reigning MTN8 Player of the Tournament Bradley Grobler. SuperSport appeared to infuse better wing-play and defensive composure into their game in the second half.
Man-of-the-match Gamphani Lungu drew them level in the 49th minute. After the ball was rolled to his feet following an attacking passage of play from Matsatsantsa, the Zambian produced a composed finish from the rebound after Jackson Mabokgwane saved his initial effort.
Much to the disdain of SuperSport, Celtic goalkeeper Mabokgwane appeared to be in pain throughout the game, which led to play stopping a few times. He was eventually replaced in the 66th minute by Celtic’s backup keeper Sipho Chaine. Torrential rainfall in the last 20-minutes of the game made it hard for either side to play fluently.