SuperSport sucker-punch Downs
Posted: 5 November 2016 Time: 17:00
Ten-man SuperSport United edged Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in 120 minutes of their Telkom Knockout quarter-final at Lucas Moripe Stadium.
In truth, it was snatch-and-grab from SuperSport after they were outplayed for most of the game, even before they were reduced to 10 men in the 62nd minute.
The game got off to a blistering start as Sundowns came at SuperSport with everything they had, Percy Tau looking like Lionel Messi in the opening 10 minutes as he ran at defenders and created openings.
The African champions really had Stuart Baxter's side on the ropes in that opening period, their first chance arriving after just two minutes as Tau got into the box down the left and forced a good save out of Ronwen Williams at his near post.
Khama Billiat had the best chance of the half in the 18th minute when Tau slipped him through on goal, but the Zimbabwean blazed over the bar under pressure from Clayton Daniels, and he should have scored.
The closest SuperSport came to a goal was a direct free-kick from Jeremy Brockie in the 23rd minute that hit the crossbar, with Kennedy Mweene standing statuesque.
Besides that Brockie moment, it was Sundowns doing all of the pushing and probing, dominating the possession, although Stuart Baxter's side started to look more comfortable containing the threat as the half went on.
In the second half it was much of the same until just past the hour-mark when Sundowns launched a good move down the left and Keagan Dolly crossed first-time for Billiat, who would have been one-on-one against Williams in the penalty area but for a cynical tug by Onismor Bhasera on the edge of the area.
Referee Victor Gomes immediately gave a free-kick and issued a yellow card to Bhasera, then the Matsatsantsa players started to argue with the referee – Bhasera also arguing – so Gomes changed his mind and flashed a straight red to the same player, and SuperSport were down to 10 men.
Hlompho Kekana was then really unlucky to hit the upright with a near-perfect shot from the resultant free-kick, and the closest either side came to scoring after that was in stoppage time when the outstanding Reneilwe Letsholonyane hit the post with Mweene lying on the ground.
This was another controversial moment as Michael Boxall charged with his shoulder straight into Mweene in the build-up to Letsholonyane's shot, and Gomes did not blow for a foul, meaning the goal would have stood. Boxall was eventually booked, but only after arguing with Gomes.
To extra-time, when straight away Boxall had a chance at the far post but could not keep it down before the most controversial moment of the game arrived – substitute Anthony Laffor played a one-two with Sibusiso Vilakazi in the area and buried the goal, but it was incorrectly ruled offside, with replays showing he was about a metre onside.
Sundowns camped around the edge of SuperSport's penalty box but could not score no matter what they tried, and Matsatsantsa had one chance to snatch the victory when they found themselves four versus two on the counter-attack but could not take advantage.
With no goals after 120 minutes, penalties had to decide the outcome. Anthony Laffor gave Sundowns the worst start as he blazed the first spot-kick over before Williams saved from Thabo Nthethe and Vilakazi to give his side the win.
HOME: Mamelodi Sundowns
Coach: Pitso Mosimane
AWAY: SuperSport United
Coach: Stuart Baxter