Absa Premiership

SuperSport reach Confed Cup final

2017-10-23 07:22
Bradley Grobler.(Gallo Images)

Cape Town - A disciplined performance from SuperSport United saw them beat Club Africain 3-1 (2-4 agg) at the Olympic Stadium in Rades to advance to the CAF Confederation Cup final.

Eric Tinkler's side had to defend for large spells in the semi-final, second-leg clash after early goals in each half from Bradley Grobler and Jeremy Brockie gave them a commanding lead, following a 1-1 draw in the first leg.

Saber Khalifa pulled one back from the penalty spot to keep his team's hopes alive, but Grobler struck again shortly afterwards to seal a 4-2 win on aggregate and book a final date with TP Mazembe.

Matsatsantsa surprised the hosts by piling on the pressure in the opening stages and it paid dividends as they broke the deadlock just after the quarter-hour mark.

Teboho Mokoena played a delightful ball to release Thuso Phala on the right and his cross was arrowed into the top-right corner of the net off Grobler's head from 12 yards out.

The visitors then went into their shell as Marco Simone's men pushed for an equaliser. An 18th-minute free-kick from the right was spilled by Ronwen Williams and Matthew Rusike's shot was cleared off the line by Morgan Gould.

The Tunis giants looked to shoot at every opportunity, with Ibrahim Chenihi dragging a long-range effort wide of the right post on 20 minutes, before Ahmed Khalil blazed over from distance four minutes later.

Chenihi went close two minutes later with a half-volley that flashed just wide of the left post from inside the box, while Ghazi Ayadi failed to test Williams from a free-kick 20 yards out soon afterwards.

Williams pulled off a superb save to preserve his team's lead on 35 minutes as he tipped Khalifa's header around the left post, and it proved vital as the South African club doubled their lead eight minutes into the second half.

Mokoena played in Brockie with another exquisite through-ball and the New Zealand striker picked out the bottom-left corner of the net with a low finish across home keeper Atef Dkhili.

However, Club Africain were handed a lifeline moments later when Gould shoved over Khalifa inside the area on the left, and the skipper sent Williams the wrong way from the resulting penalty to halve the deficit.

They should have been level on 57 minutes when Chenihi miss-hit his shot from a cross on the left, but Khalifa hooked the ball wide of the left post as it dropped into his path, while Williams was well placed to keep out Rusike's header from a cross on the right five minutes later.

With the hosts pushing forward in numbers to get back into the contest, they were caught out at the back on 64 minutes when Grobler beat the offside trap from Phala's through-ball to slot home from just inside the box to take a firm grip on the tie.

Williams was called into action four times in the closing stages, but they were all routine saves, while Clayton Daniels bailed out his keeper in stoppage time by clearing off the line from Khalil Aounallah, who had stolen the ball on the right and cut inside to make space for a shot.

Read more on:    supersport  |  united  |  confed cup  |  bradley grobler  |  soccer


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