Pretoria - SuperSport United are the Gauteng Football Cup champions after showing tremendous gusto to beat Mamelodi Sundowns 4-3 on penalties at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday.
United fought back from behind to force a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes of play. The win over the defending Premiership champions is a huge boost for United before the start of the PSL season in early August.
Sundowns were the first to get onto the score sheet with a strike from sharpshooter Katlego Mashego in the 63rd minute. Sundowns controlled the tempo of the match and were patient in attack.
United however kept grinding as they steadily built up an onslaught in pursuit of an equaliser. In the 74th minute, United levelled matters with a goal from defender Thabo September.
A battle for possession ensued after the equalising goal with both teams fighting hard for the winning goal. The winning goal never came, but Sundowns came close to snatching the title in the dying minutes, when striker Rodney Magalagalela missed a wonderful opportunity to clinch the first piece of silverware for his team.
Sundowns utilised their large squad to full effect as the technical team threw in the substitutes but in the end it was not enough for victory. United were simply better on the day as they showed great poise to seal an unlikely win. Matsatsantsa looked erratic at times; however the players eventually began to play with more synergy which in the end helped them overcome.
United enjoyed a fortuitous tournament having come back from behind in both matches to ensure the games went to spot kicks.
The one day tournament, which was a precursor to the 2014/15 Premiership season, yielded 11 goals in the three matches played.
The four teams that competed in the provincial challenge were afforded an opportunity to exhibit their latest player acquisitions and experiment with a number of playing combination.
Every team came out to play with new look teams having in the off season made signings that they hope will improve their chances of success in the upcoming campaign.
In the first match of the day Sundowns thumped Moroka Swallows 5-0 to secure a final berth later in the day. United defeated University of Pretoria 5-4 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in regulation time in their match clash.
In the final, which was the second match of the day for both teams,the players were visibly lethargic in what were their first competitive games since the league went into recess. There is still a long way the players before the coaches can be fully satisfied with match-fitness.
With three weeks to go until the start of the new PSL season, it appears that both Sundowns and United will be among the top contenders for the Premiership title.