long way to go

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

SuperSport United cannot afford any more slip-ups in their quest to make history by becoming the first recipients of the R10million Absa Premiership first prize.

"The league is a marathon but we need to stay focused. Clubs need maximum points for various reasons," said Thomas Madigage, United's assistant coach.

"The win over Orlando Pirates is a major boost for us. We have to do the job ourselves by winning our matches. It will be suicidal to rely on anybody for favours."

Madigage was speaking after a narrow but well-deserved 1-0 win over Pirates at Johannesburg Stadium on Saturday night.

Matsatsantsa a Pitori, who lost one league game - 2-0 to AmaZulu - in their second-round campaign, are left with five games to complete their 2007-08 season.

They take on Mamelodi Sundowns on April 22, Santos (April 30), Moroka Swallows (May 10), Golden Arrows (May 14) and Bloemfontein Celtic (May 18).

"We are getting close to approaching the end of the marathon and there is light at the end of the tunnel. We need to remain united," Madigage said.

Gavin Hunt, United's coach, said: "It's a well-deserved win. We played well, especially in the first half in which we should have scored two or three goals.

"This is a great win after the defeat by AmaZulu, where I was upset with my players."

The win ends whatever hope Pirates had of winning the championship.

But Owen Da Gama, Pirates' coach, refuses to throw in the towel, saying they were still in with a chance of winning the league.

"I'm very disappointed with the result. United got an early goal but we came back very strong in the second half.

"But our momentum was broken when the power went off [for about 20 minutes]. I was also disappointed with some of the decisions by the match officials. What do you do when Shane Poggenpoel is warned [by referee Paul Marques] four times for fouls on Teko Modise?" asked Da Gama.

Pirates are now in danger of even missing out on finishing well inside the top eight, unless their appetite for goals changes.

United made their intentions clear as early as the second minute when Elias Pelembe netted the only goal of the evening.

The goal-shy Bucs fought back gallantly late in the game but United's goalie Andre Arendse was not in a charitable mood.