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SuperSport’s 12-game unbeaten streak – which has included a run to the Telkom Knockout final‚ rare victory over winning machine Mamelodi Sundowns and two victories against Orlando Pirates‚ one of which was a 6-1 thrashing – cannot be ignored.
Matsatsantsa’s structure and ability to absorb pressure from some of the country’s best attacks have been notably impressive.
They beat Sundowns in the Telkom Knockout quarterfinals playing with 10 men for half of 120 minutes to take the game to penalties.
On Saturday night‚ in the semifinals‚ they withstood a challenge from a Pirates side out to avenge not just the now infamous 6-1‚ but also May’s 3-2 Nedbank Cup final defeat.
And it is not just the defence‚ protected by the highly promising midfield duo of Dean Furman and Reneilwe Letsholonyane‚ that has been impressive.
On the counterattack SuperSport boast an armoury that would be the envy of many a team including Jeremy Brockie‚ Bradley Grobler and Kingston Nkhatha‚ and where Dove Wome is still battling his way back from injury.
Former Pretoria City forward Thabo Mnyamane has been showing what a move from a struggling side to a bigger‚ better organised club can do for a player’s career with three goals in two games.
In some of SuperSport's recent big victories‚ though‚ there have been some extenuating circumstances.
Pirates were on the verge of an implosion under Muhsin Ertugral in the 6-1. The following weekend Sundowns – perhaps exhausted from two months of packed fixtures becoming African champions – lacked an edge and could not score despite carving through SuperSport again and again.
Wits are something of a juggernaut. Last season’s runners-up are the only team still unbeaten in the PSL. They lead with 20 points from eight games‚ while all other sides in the top five have played 10 matches.
Coach Gavin Hunt has his best team in his fourth season at the Clever Boys and has his sights set on a title. He will be out to prevent his old club – where Hunt won three league titles – from drawing level on points.
Wits have left-back Sifiso Hlanti out suspended having picked up a first-half red card in perhaps their worst performance in the league this season in a 2-2 draw at home against Highlands Park on Saturday night.
SuperSport – who have waned somewhat since Hunt’s departure – will feel they finally have a coach in Stuart Baxter who can bring back a winning edge to the club.
But in Wits the third-placed men from Pretoria just might meet their match.
TMG Digital/TMG Sport