Downs clinch away goal in MTN8 semis

Tshwane rivals SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns played to a 1-1 draw in the MTN8 semi-final first-leg on Sunday.

Wayne Arendse returned for Sundowns after missing out against Bloemfontein Celtic in midweek, while Bongani Khumalo and Sipho Mbule were re-called for SuperSport following their win over Baroka FC.

Sundowns opened up United on seven minutes as Sibusiso Vilakazi forced Ronwen Williams to an outstretched palm that fell to Gaston Sirino and Lebohang Maboe who also failed to profit. Play switched immediately as a long kick from Williams released Siyabonga Nhlapo whose cross fell kindly to Bradley Grobler who shaved the left-hand post with a first-time strike in the area.

The tempo died down a bit afterwards, but SuperSport went back in on the front foot as Thamsanqa Gabuza’s header was cleared off the goal-line from a corner kick.

Matsatsantsa’s initiative paid dividends four minutes to halftime when Onismor Bhasera cut in from the left side to cross for Gabuza who nodded past Denis Onyango. However, the Brazilians hit back within two minutes as Sirino picked up a loose ball inside the area to send the ball into the roof of the net.

SuperSport looked to reassert authority five minutes in the second half, but Onyango impressively denied Arendse from scoring an own-goal with a one-handed palm following a free-kick. Masandawana drew their own attempt three minutes later as Mosa Lebusa fired a first-time volley from the far side which Khumalo cleared from the goal-line.

The pressure play from Sundowns continued, but wayward shooting and indecisiveness in front of goal from Vilakazi, Sirino and Themba Zwane let United off the hook. As the pressure dropped, Matsatsantsa introduced the game’s first change on 71 minutes with Jamier Webber coming on for Teboho Mokoena.

The two sides strutted the ball around in the final minutes, with no real chances seeing the clash to a draw as Sundowns take the advantage to the second-leg following their away-goal.

Teams:

SuperSport: Williams, Nhlapo, Daniels, Khumalo, Bhasera, Furman, Mokoena, Mbule, Rusike, Gabuza, Grobler.

Subs: Pule, Fleurs, Webber, Modiba, Qalinge, Mahachi, Lungu.

Sundowns: Onyango, Ngconca, Arendse, Lebusa, Langerman, Seabi, Kekana, Zwane,  Sirino, Vilakazi, Maboe.

Subs: Pieterse, Mabunda, Lakay, Mkhulise, Tade, Madisha, Jali.

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