Cup specialists worry Ernst
THE Telkom Knockout competition resumes this weekend with the quarterfinal between Maritzburg United and Supersport United at Harry Gwala Stadium tonight.
Both sides reached the last eight via penalty shootouts; Maritzburg edging Moroka Swallows while the Pretoria side dispatched Ajax Cape Town after the two sides played to a 1-1 draw a fortnight ago.
It could end in another penalty shootout tonight (kickoff 8pm), with both sides showing poor goalscoring form of late.
The coastal side, one of the five Premiership sides yet to win a knockout cup competition in PSL history, come up against a team known as cup specialists, having made seven final appearances in the past eight years.
It's a fact Maritzburg coach Ernst Middendorp acknowledges as he prepares for a tricky clash at home.
"SuperSport are a team still unbeaten in the league," says Middendorp.
"They have a lot of fantastic players. Nathan Paulse, (Mabhuti) Khenyeza, Sibusiso Zuma. It doesn't mean that because Franklin Cale and Mor Diouf (who were sent off against Wits) are unavailable it will be easier for us. They have some really good replacements in the likes of Roscoe Pietersen and Bevan Fransman."
The Team of Choice have already caused a few upsets, beating Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1 and pulling off an astonishing 1-1 draw against Kaizer Chiefs in their last match.
Gavin Hunt's side seemed to have rediscovered their Midas touch in cup competitions, having already bagged the Nedbank Cup in May and silver in the MTN8. Not much should be read into their stuttering league form, in which they remain unbeaten in eight games. "Away from home, we are expecting a tough game," says Hunt.
"It's a night game and I think the pitch is going to be a bit wet as well. But we've prevailed in tough conditions before."