Battle of the Uniteds in MTN8 semifinals

Battle of the Uniteds in MTN8 semifinals
Mohau Mokate of Maritzburg United challenged by Morgan Gould of Supersport United during the Absa Premiership 2016/17 match between Supersport United and Maritzburg United at Lucas Moripe Stadium, Pretoria South Africa on 22 February 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Aug 25, 2017. 10:30

SuperSport United and Maritzburg United will renew their rivalry in the semifinals of the MTN8, with their first leg clash set for Lucas Moripe Stadium on 26 August 2017, kick-off at 20h15.

SuperSport booked their place in the last four thanks to a 1-0 win over Kaizer Chiefs, with Jeremy Brockie scoring the decisive goal to hand Eric Tinkler a winning start to the 2017/18 season.

But if Matsatsantsa’s win was a turn up for the books, it was nothing compared to Maritzburg’s 1-0 triumph over Mamelodi Sundowns in the quarterfinals. Evans Rusike scored the only goal of the match as the Team of Choice moved into the semifinals of the MTN8 for the first time in their history.

The two Uniteds have met in just two previous cup clashes, both of which were in the 2012/13 season. SuperSport defeated Maritzburg in the quarterfinals of both the Telkom Knockout (2-0 away) and Nedbank Cup (2-1 away).

Overall, the teams have clashed in 24 matches across all competitions since 2005/06. The record is skewed very much in favour of Matsatsantsa, who have claimed 14 wins compared to just two for their KwaZulu-Natal counterparts.

The Tshwane side are also unbeaten in their last five meetings with Maritzburg, including a league ‘double’ in the 2016/17 Absa Premiership - the teams’ most recent clashes. SuperSport won 1-0 away in the first half of the campaign, before claiming an emphatic 4-1 triumph in the return game at home.

However, neither of those defeats came with Fadlu Davids in charge of the Team of Choice. The young coach took over the reins in the latter stages of last season and did such a fine job that he has since been appointed permanently.

He only enhanced his reputation with the victory over Mamelodi Sundowns and his battle of tactical wits with counterpart Tinkler promises to be one of the highlights of this semifinal battle.

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