Matsatsantsa see off Swallows
George Maluleka (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - SuperSport United needed extra-time goals by Thuso Phala and George Maluleka to ensure a 3-1 victory over Moroka Swallows in their quarter-final Telkom Knockout clash at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Bradley Grobler broke the deadlock just after the hour mark before Edward Manqele needed just 60 seconds to respond with the equaliser, sending the game into extra-time.
Before the two teams could even get into the groove of the game, Swallows were handed a blow in the shape of their captain Lefa Tsutsulupa, who was substituted in the 13th minute following a crunching tackle by Innocent Mdledle.
A scuffle between the two sets of players, following a foul by Lerato Chabangu on David Mathebula just outside the box, was to be the most exciting part of the game in the opening 20 minutes, leaving the game in desperate need of some goalmouth action.
Larry Cohen did finally supply something to write home about in 23rd minute, when he nearly connected with a long ball floated into the box at the near post. The defender, however, missed the set-piece by a toe poke.
Swallows were working their play well on the counter and they saw their shot by Siyabonga Nomvethe blocked by Sibusiso Khumalo just after the half hour mark.
The follow-up was struck by Giorgi Nergadze from range; however, his right-footed effort did nothing to worry Ronwen Williams in goal as it sailed well over the youngster’s goal frame.
In the 50th minute Roger da Costa ensured Swallows continued with the form they ended the first half with, as he supplied a looping long ball towards Chabangu. The South African international brilliantly struck it on the half-volley, from just outside the box, but only for it to fall straight into the hands of Williams.
As the hour mark struck, goal mouth action started to come thick and fast and it welcomed two goals just a minute apart from each other.
Substitute George Maluleka, who beat Cohen in the box, unselfishly crossed the ball to the onrushing Bradley Grobler, and the striker made no error in tapping home the ball into the back of the net, 1-0.
SuperSport’s defence was then left in sixes and sevens when Bevan Fransman failed to clear a looping ball into the box. It fell kindly to Edward Manqele and he made no error in half-volleying it into the back of the net, 1-1.
Grobler should have made it 2-1 in the 70th minute after a moment of confusion in the Swallows’ defence saw him needing to place the ball into the back of an empty net. The 26-year-old, however, directed the ball painfully wide of goal.
With neither team being able to strike the match-winner within the full 90, the game was forced into extra-time, and Maluleka nearly handed his side the advantage with a well taken free-kick.
Sibusiso Khumalo made a crucial interception of Siyabonga Nomvethe’s cross on the byline in the 103rd minute of play, before Thuso Phala and Maluleka secured the victory.
Grobler supplied the assist to the former Platinum Stars man from a Cohen clearance and he made no error in slicing a low ball into the bottom corner of Etafia’s goal on the stroke of the half-time in extra time, 2-1.
Maluleka then made it 3-1 for the hosts with his low drive from Sahmeeg Doutie’s long-ball to book SuperSport United’s ticket into the semi-final of the competition. Teams:
Williams, Moloi, Khumalo, Fransman, September, Doutie, Mkhabela, Mdledle (Phala 66’), Lentjies (Maluleka 54’), Niang (Grobler 59’), Mathebula, Moroka Swallows
Etafia, Mungomeni, Da Costa, Cohen, Mokgothu, Mbekile, Nergadze (Obada 74’), Chabangu (Mabalane 93’), Tsutsulupa (Ogle 13’), Nomvethe, Manqele