Thanda upset champions
Posted: 7 February 2009 Time: 20:25
Once again in a David and Goliath match up, David walked away victorious as Thanda Royal Zulu beat SuperSport United 3-1 at the Super Stadium in Atteridgeville in the Absa Premiership.
The Thanda goals were scored by Felix Obada, Sibusiso Hadebe and Clifford Mulenga while Bongani Khumalo scored for the homeside. Thanda were down to 10-men in the 82nd minute when Tonic Chabala was red carded for striking Glen Salmon.
Everyone had written the Amabhubesi off before the kick-off of the match. All the odds were against them: they hadn't won a game in the New Year, losing four in a row; they had conceded nine goals in their last two games; and they were up against the defending Absa Premiership champions and current league leaders in SuperSport.
That certainly didn't look the case, however, when they put up a display worthy of winners showing mountains of courage and determination to walk away 3-1 winners on Saturday evening.
In the first 45 minutes Thanda looked the better team creating some decent chances in front of goal while Gavin Hunt's men struggled to find fluidity and apply pressure on a team that were in poor form.
The first save of the game was only made by United's Denis Onyango in the 24th minute. Phil Evans curled a 20 yard free- kick around the wall forcing Denis Onyango to dive full stretch to his left to parry the ball away from danger.
Thanda were rewarded for all their pressure in the 35th minute when Felix Obada put them in front to the shock of the fans inside the stadium. Nkosinathi Nhleko latched onto a beautiful through ball down the right flank and supplied an inch perfect cross to Obada, who snuck in front of the defence at the near post to slot the ball home, 1-0.
Shane Poggenpoel came closest to drawing his side level in the first half with a 30 yard pile-driver that forced Mandlenkosi Tsengwa into the save of the match touching the shot over the bar with his fingertips.
Hunt made two early substitutions in the second half, throwing on Lerato Chabangu and Brent Carelse, but they had little effect as Thanda dug in their heels and were determined to protect their lead.
SuperSport pressed forward n search of the equaliser and to their dismay they were caught on the counter-attack in the 70th minute. Sibusiso Hadebe picked up the ball and drove towards the United goal before taking a speculative shot from 20 yards out. His effort deflected off a defender, wrong-footing Onyango, and ended up in the back of the net, 2-0.
The last quarter of the match had drama as Bongani Khumalo pulled a goal back for SuperSport in the 79th minute.
Thereafter, Tonic Chabala was red carded for striking Glen Salmon which provided for a frantic finish, but the Amabhubesi managed to seal the game in the 93rd minute when Clifford Mulenga grabbed his side's third goal.
Thanda will be delighted with the win, ending a run of four losses in a row. SuperSport will be disheartened with the result as they failed to extend their lead at the top of the table.