Absa Premiership

SuperSport United eyeing yet another final

2017-10-22 06:08
WANTS MORE: Eric Tinkler is aiming for yet another cup final. (Lefty Shivambu, Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - After reaching three successive cup finals, SuperSport United are targeting a fourth one – the CAF Confederation Cup.

United won two of these clashes – the Nedbank Cup and MTN8 – but lost the Telkom Knockout in December.

Coach Eric Tinkler says he wants the team to have a culture of reaching cup finals and winning them.

After lifting the MTN8 trophy last weekend, Tinkler says they are taking aim at the continental title.

Any chance

They will, however, have to negotiate their way through a tough trip to Tunisia, where they visit Club Africain on Sunday afternoon.

Mzansi’s only remaining representatives are on the back foot after conceding a goal at home in the first leg three weeks ago. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

They will have to score at least one goal to stand any chance of progressing to the final.

But they should be buoyed by last week’s performance, when they came back from behind to force a draw against Cape Town City and eventually won the MTN8 final on penalties.

United showed determination, resilience and fighting spirit to lift the cup, particularly after losing Thabo Mnyamane in the 80th minute. It meant they had to soldier on for the rest of the game and extra time one man short.

Same performance

They will need to show the same spirit and grit in Tunisia, where they should expect a hostile reception. The home club asked to sell about 50 000 tickets, according to reports.

But playing in front of a hostile crowd should not be a problem for United, who have always done better away in this competition.

They lost only once, when they went down 4-0 to Sudan’s side, Al Ahli Shandi, in March.

Matsatsantsa A Pitori were able to bounce back in Zambia in the quarterfinals, when they forced a 2-2 draw to advance to the last four.

Tinkler will be hoping for a repeat of the same performance from his players.

After allowing the Tunisians to score at home, United will have to find the net, but will have to be more clinical in front of goal than they have been lately.

Their undoing in recent matches has been failure to kill off matches.

However, players like Jeremy Brockie, Thuso Phala and Bradley Grobler have what it takes to upset the Tunisians in front of their home supporters.

Fit for clash

United will have to do without Mnyamane, who has been ruled out of action for up to six weeks with a groin injury.

The 25-year-old left the field after scoring an important equaliser on Saturday. The midfielder was also on target against the same Tunisian side in the first leg.

Tinkler said he expected most of the players to be fit for this clash. Many of them struggled with muscle pulls last weekend, but Tinkler said they had been declared fit to travel and play.

However, with another final beckoning on the horizon, nothing should stop United from reaching yet another milestone.

They should be more motivated by their recent cup successes.

 

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