Hunt: Schedule causing chaos
Gavin Hunt (Gallo Images)
Pietermaritzburg - Gavin Hunt admits he is unsure how his SuperSport United outfit will continue to juggle playing in three competitions over the closing weeks of the season after progressing to the Nedbank Cup semi-finals.
Matsatsantsa came from a goal down to beat 10-man Maritzburg United 2-1 in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday, with Mogogi Gabonamong’s stoppage time header at the end of the first half proving decisive at Harry Gwala Stadium.
The hosts took an eighth-minute lead courtesy of a Cuthbert Malajila header, before the visitors drew level after 22 minutes when George Maluleka drilled in at the near post.
But the game was turned on its head moments before the interval when defender Rheece Evans was sent off after collecting a second yellow card for tugging on the shirt of Kermit Erasmus, and Gabonamong headed in the resulting free-kick.
Victory left Hunt’s men on course to defend the title they won last year, but also meant they faced a tough schedule due to their PSL and CAF Confederation Cup commitments.
“I haven’t got a clue (how we’re going to manage), but we’re going to have to take it one game at a time,” said the SuperSport boss.
“I enjoy the busier schedule, but it’s chaos at the moment thinking about all these games that we have. We’ve done alright so far with the squad we have.
“I’ve played people out of position and I’ve got a few more guys to come back in that are part of the squad for Africa (Confed Cup), so we’ll see how it goes.”
Next up for United is a trip to Egypt to face ENPPI on Friday, while they are still aiming to finish in the top five of the domestic top-flight league, Hunt confirmed.
He admitted that making the cup semi-finals was pleasing, despite conceding they struggled to progress by not taking their chances.
Substitute Thabiso Nkoana was particularly wasteful, squandering three gilt-edged chances in the second period as his team tried to kill off the contest.
“When they were down to 10 men it looked like we had about eight players and they had 15,” Hunt said.
“I mean, we couldn’t get hold of the ball, and they went a bit longer earlier and caused us a few more problems.
“But in saying that, when we did break out, Thabiso Nkoana could have sealed it for us and made it safe.
“But what’s it all about, getting into the next round, isn’t it?”
Maritzburg coach Ernst Middendorp was predictably downbeat by the result, especially after their impressive first-half showing in which they could have netted a second or third goal.
“Let me be very clear, we lost the game and they didn’t win it,” Middendorp said.
“Everything was set for us, just as we planned. We went 1-0 up and should have scored more than that with some of the clear-cut chances we had.
“With 10 against 11 it was always going to be tough. Even though we fought hard, it was not enough.”
Elsewhere on Saturday, league leaders Kaizer Chiefs cruised into the cup semi-finals after a 57th minute goal by Lincon Zvasiya gave the visitors a 1-0 win over Bloemfontein Celtic at a packed Free State Stadium.