Cape Town - SuperSport United shrugged off their poor league form to claim a 2-1 win over Polokwane City at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on Wednesday night and move into the quarter-finals of the Telkom Knockout.
Matsatsantsa had to hang tough in the match, playing 55 minutes with 10 men following the dismissal of Bradley Grobler. However, their goals from Thuso Phala and Dove Wome in the first half were enough to see them to victory over Rise and Shine, who had Puleng Tlolane score their goal and miss a second-half penalty.
SuperSport claimed the lead as early as the fifth minute through a controversial goal from Thuso Phala, who appeared to force the ball out of the hands of City goalkeeper George Chigova before steering a shot into the empty net. The hosts objected vociferously, but the goal was allowed to stand.
However, Polokwane hit back to level the game at 1-1 in the 12th minute. Punch Masenamela sprung the offside trap to break free down the left flank and his square pass across the face of goal was turned home at close range by Puleng Tlolane.
Ten minutes later Rise and Shine missed a glaring chance to go into the lead, with Tlolane’s pull-back from the left by-line somehow skewed wide from just a couple of metres out by Linda Shiba.
The end-to-end nature of the game saw United reclaim the ascendancy in the 26th minute, with Phala doing brilliantly to beat a couple of defenders and cross from the by-line for Dove Wome, who steered the ball into the net to make it 2-1 to the visitors.
On 35 minutes, Matsatsantsa were dealt a major blow when forward Bradley Grobler was shown a straight red card for needlessly stamping on Mfundo Phungwayo. The Polokwane right-back made a meal of the incident, but Grobler’s actions probably warranted a dismissal.
With a man’s advantage, City went on to dominate in the second half and in the 66th minute they were awarded a penalty when Clayton Daniels was harshly adjudged to have handled the ball in the box. However, justice was served when Ronwen Williams made a fine save to deny Tlolane from the spot.
That missed opportunity came back to haunt Polokwane, as they were unable to find a way back into the game in the remaining time and saw their Telkom Knockout hopes extinguished in the opening round.