Advantage Maritzburg in battle of the Uniteds

Advantage Maritzburg in battle of the Uniteds
Deolin Mekoa of Martizburg United challenged by Grant Kekana of Supersport United during MTN8 Semifinal match between Supersport United and Maritzburg United at Lucas Moripe Stadium, Atteridgeville South Africa on 26 August 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Thursday Sep 07, 2017. 11:41

Maritzburg United will look to seal a place in the MTN8 final for the first time when they welcome SuperSport United to the Harry Gwala Stadium on 9 September 2017, kick-off at 20h15.

The teams’ first leg, semifinal clash at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in late August ended in a 1-1 draw, with Thuso Phala’s goal early in the second half cancelled out by a late equaliser for Lebohang Maboe. The Maritzburg attacker’s away goal could yet prove decisive, with the Team of Choice now in a position where a clean sheet will guarantee progression into the final.

Coach Fadlu Davids’ side have been in impressive form early in the 2017/18 season and currently sit at the top of the Absa Premiership standings alongside Cape Town City (and there’s a good chance the two teams could meet in the MTN8 final!). How they react to reassembling after the international break could well determine their fate in this semifinal tie.

Matsatsantsa coach Eric Tinkler, meanwhile, claimed he was thankful for the break to work on his team’s fitness and tactics. The Tshwane side are very much alive in the tie and will fancy their chances of reaching the MTN8 final for the first time since 2012, when they were beaten by Moroka Swallows.

The 1-1 draw between the two Uniteds was their third cup clash - the previous two were outright wins for SuperSport in the quarterfinals of both the 2012 Telkom Knockout and the 2013 Nedbank Cup. Overall, the teams have clashed in 25 matches since 2005/06, with Matsatsantsa claiming 14 wins compared to just two for the Team of Choice.

The aggregate winners will face either Bidvest Wits or Cape Town City in the 2017 MTN8 final. The latter leads 1-0 ahead of the teams’ second leg clash in Johannesburg on September 10.

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