MAMELODI Sundowns progressed to the semi-finals of the MTN8 with a 3-1 win over SuperSport United at Loftus Versfeld on (this) Sunday afternoon.
The teams went into the break tied at 1-1 after Wayne Arendse gave Sundowns the lead, before substitute Kingston Nkhatha scored the equaliser for SuperSport in stoppage time of the first half. Hlompo Kekana and Zimbabwean Khama Billiat then scored two late goals to help Sundowns book their place in the last four of the competition.
Sundowns will now face Chippa United in the first semi-final, while Bidvest Wits take on Cape Town City in the other last-four clash.
SuperSport had the first chance of the match in the seventh minute when midfielder Dean Furman let rip from about 30 yards out. However, Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango produced a superb save to deny the Bafana Bafana midfielder.
Sundowns, though, took the lead in the 18th minute when SuperSport failed to clear their lines from a corner, and defender Arendse poked the ball home from close range for the Brazilians.
The home side suffered a massive blow soon afterwards when their striker Leonardo Castro was stretchered off with an ankle injury. But that didn’t stop Sundowns from attacking with purpose, as Keagan Dolly shot wide with a long-range effort in the 35th minute, while Kekana’s effort from the edge of the box three minutes later was saved by SuperSport goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.
However, SuperSport would equalise on the stroke of halftime when replacement striker Nkhatha, who came on for the injured Bradley Grobler, headed past Onyango.
The start of the second half was a cagey affair, with little in the way of goal-mouth chances for either side. But, as with mostlocal football matches, the tie only became lively in the last 20 minutes.
SuperSport’s attacker Thuso Phala picked out striker Jeremy Brockie with a top pass in the 72nd minute, but the New Zealander blazed his shot well over the crossbar from the edge of the box.
Williams produced a magnificent save to deny Sundowns’ marquee signing Sibusiso Vilakazi from scoring in the 74th minute, but he was powerless when Kekena slotted in the rebound, which deflected off the Vilakazi’s face into the back of the net, to give Sundowns a 2-1 lead.
Billiat then assured Sundowns’ safe passage into the next round when he finished brilliantly after some great work from Percy Tau and Vilakazi in the build up. – ANA