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Nedbank Cup Final: SuperSport United v Orlando Pirates
SuperSport United & Orlando Pirates will do battle this Saturday in the Nedbank Cup Final.
It will be the fifth time in six seasons that one of Pirates or SuperSport have appeared in the Nedbank Cup final, showing the dominance these two sides have enjoyed in the competition over the last few years.
Nothing could separate these sides last weekend as they closed the Absa Premiership with a thrilling 2-2 draw at Orlando Stadium. That result means that both teams will be competing in the MTN8 next season as Pirates finished seventh on 41 points and SuperSport eighth on 40 points.
SuperSport United v Orlando Pirates | Saturday 28 May | Peter Mokaba Stadium | 15:00
To Win (80 Mins)
SuperSport 17/10 | Draw 21/10 | Pirates 15/10
Two second-half goals from Bradley Grobler and Denwin Farmer ensured SuperSport United reached the MTN8 next season as they drew 2-2 in their final Absa Premiership tie at Orlando Pirates last weekend. Matsatsantsa finished the Absa Premiership in eighth place with 40 points, recording 10 wins, 10 draws and 10 defeats.
It has been an emotional roller-coaster for SuperSport United this season with cup success somewhat sugarcoating their shortcomings in the league. Stuart Baxter’s arrival in late January has changed the mood in Tshwane. Results in the Absa Premiership have not been what were expected, but Baxter’s side have shown great grit and determination in the Nedbank Cup this season.
Matsatsantsa beat NFD outfit Moroka Swallows (1-0), the University of Pretoria (3-3, won 4-2 on penalties), Black Aces (2-1) and NFD Champions Baroka FC (2-0) to book their place in a third Nedbank Cup final in five years.
Baxter has renewed hope for glory at SuperSport and he’ll be looking to win his first trophy with the club on Saturday. Matsatsantsa have won the Nedbank Cup three times, with their most recent triumph occurring in 2012 (adding to triumphs in 1999 and 2005).
There is no doubt Baxter will be able to transform SuperSport into league challengers and they have already stated their intent with shrewd signings. Michael Morton has signed a two-year extension with the club and will be joined by Polokwane City star Cole Alexander and veteran Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane.
Jeremy Brockie has been crucial to SuperSport’s success in the competition which has earned the New Zealander a place on the three-man shortlist for Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament. He’s scored three goals in the competition and will look to lift his side to their fourth Nedbank Cup.
Orlando Pirates couldn't wrap their Absa Premiership season with a win last weekend as they drew 2-2 against SuperSport United. The Buccaneers were on the brink of securing three points against SuperSport United, before Farmer netted a late equaliser to ensure both sides earned a share of the spoils.
Pirates ended their long season with 41 points, following 11 wins, eight draws and 11 losses in the league. It has been a frustrating season for Pirates and Eric Tinkler. An exhausting run to the CAF Confederation Cup final, which had denied the Buccaneers most of their off-season, culminated in a 2-1 aggregate defeat to Tunisian side Etoile du Sahel in November last year. The Bucs can salvage their domestic season to some extent by beating SuperSport in the Nedbank Cup final on Saturday.
In the Cup run, Pirates' hunger to finish with a trophy has been evident. They beat Kaizer Chiefs (2-0), Jomo Cosmos (3-1), Mamelodi Sundowns (2-0 with 10 men in extra-time in Atteridgeville), and Free State Stars (4-2 at Goble Park) to reach the final.
Pirates will be appearing in their 16th final in the Nedbank Cup competition in 2016, continuing the rich history they share with South Africa’s premier knockout competition. The Buccaneers have already lifted the trophy on eight previous occasions, including in 2011 and 2014, as they prepare to go up against SuperSport United at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane. Their last two final appearances have been successful with a pair of 3-1 victories against NFD side Black Leopards (2011) and Bidvest Wits (2014).
The Buccaneers will rely on in-form striker Tendai Ndoro to fire them to cup glory. The Zimbabwe international has been influential for Tinkler’s side and is in contention for Player of the Tournament. Ndoro is the top scorer in the competition with five goals and he’ll be SuperSport’s greatest threat.
Prediction: Orlando Pirates (15/10)
Orlando Pirates are favourites in this tie at 15/10. The Buccaneers have beaten Kaizer Chiefs and PSL champions Mamelodi Sundowns in the competition. They’ve been successful in their last two cup finals and I’m backing them to oust SuperSport in 90 minutes.