SuperSport and Sundowns share the spoils in MTN8‚ first leg
SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns played to an entertaining 1-1 draw during their MTN8‚ first leg encounter at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Sunday afternoon.
This result leaves Sundowns with a slight advantage because of the away goal that was scored by attacking midfielder Gaston Sirino who equalized shortly after Thamsanqa Gabuza gave United the lead in the first half.
They will meet in another Tshwane Derby in the second leg on September 18 with Sundowns will be hosting United where a winner must be produced to see who will make it to the final.
Coaches Kaitano Tembo and Pitso Mosimane will rue the fact that their players missed numerous scoring chances in this match that increased in entertainment value in the second half as they went for the winner.
For the home side‚ Tembo will be satisfied with the impressive performance of midfielder Sipho Mbule who gave experienced campaigner Hlompho Kekana a torrid time in the middle of the park.
There was also a notable performance from their goal scorer Gabuza who is restarting his career at United after a long and unsuccessful spell with Orlando Pirates.
For Sundowns‚ Sirino and Lebohang Maboe gave a commendable shifts but it was new recruit Sammy Seabi‚ who continued to grow in stature in the midfield‚ while Mosa Lebusa was rock solid in the heart of the defence with Wayne Arendse.
Sundowns settled first and they forced United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams to stretch at full length to parry Sibusiso Vilakazi’s close range header to safety after the Brazilians put together a good attacking move.
United reacted with an immediate counter attack of their own that ended with Bradley Grobler missing the target by a narrow margin after they caught the Sundowns defence napping.
United opened the scoring in the 40th minute through Gabuza when he headed a well-taken cross home from Onismor Bhasera to give Denis Onyango no chance.
Their lead lasted for only a few minutes as Sundowns drew level from the thunderous boot of impressive Sirino after he benefited from a poor clearance from the United defence.
Minutes after the break‚ Onyango produced a brilliant diving save to parry the ball over the crossbar and deny a goal bound effort by Bongani Khumalo from close range.
Sundowns responded shortly afterwards with their own attack and it took a goal line clearance from Evans Rusike to thwart a shot by Mosa Lebusa after the United defence failed to clear the danger from a corner kick.
There were a few notable moments in the closing stages where Tembo and Mosimane made a number of changes but there was no goal to break the deadlock.