Johannesburg - Thabo Mnyamane’s first-half goal helped SuperSport United defeat 10-man Orlando Pirates 1-0 in a Telkom Knockout Cup semifinal clash at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday evening.
As a result, Matsatsantsa will now take on Cape Town City in the 2016 Telkom Knockout Cup final on December 10.
City overcame Free State Stars 4-1 in the first semifinal earlier on Saturday.
Both teams were looking to stamp their authority in the opening stages of the game – Mnyamane tested Pirates goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane with a powerful shot from range in the fifth minute.
Pirates midfielder Mpho Makola had a chance to give his side the lead a minute later, but the Bafana Bafana international volleyed the ball wide.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 21st minute by Mnyamane, who scored from close range to make it 1-0 to SuperSport following a defensive error by the Pirates backline.
Bucs then pushed forward in numbers in search of an immediate response, with Luvuyo Memela forcing SuperSport keeper Reyaad Pieterse into a good save in the 35th minute.
Issa Sarr and Thabo Rakhale then unleashed shots from range that missed the target as the SuperSport defence frustrated Pirates until the first half ended, with the home side leading 1-0.
Dean Furman nearly made it 2-0 to SuperSport six minutes after the restart, but the SuperSport captain’s powerful shot was brilliantly saved by Mabokgwane.
At the other end, Pirates were struggling to penetrate the SuperSport defence with the likes of Memela and Thabo Qalinge forced to pull the trigger from range.
In the 70th minute, former Mpumalanga Black Aces winger Thabo Qalinge cut inside before unleashing a good shot; which narrowly missed the target as Bucs dominated the second half.
Pirates were dealt a major blow with 10 minutes left on the clock when Thabo Matlaba was given a straight red card following a dangerous tackle on SuperSport striker Jeremy Brockie.
Pieterse was the hero for SuperSport in the dying minutes of the game, parrying away Qalinge’s thunderous shot to ensure that SuperSport walked away the winners. – Backpage TXT