Our football analyst previews the MTN8 semi-final second leg clashes which kick off on Saturday 9 September 2017.
For most teams involved in the MTN8 this is the time to throw caution to the wind and go all out in search of this season’s first major piece of silverware. Those that have first leg advantage need to decide whether to defend with their lives or keep their opponents at a back foot.
Maritzburg United have an away goal advantage from their 1-1 draw at SuperSport United and Cape Town City kept a clean sheet at home when they beat Bidvest Wits 1-0 in the first leg. The big question is which two teams will fight for the coveted R8-million prize money in the final?
Saturday 9 September
Maritzburg United 14/10 | Draw 21/10 | SuperSport United 19/10
Maritzburg United must have been delighted with avoiding a defeat away from home and getting an way goal. After SuperSport United had a goal to show for their first half domination, Lebohang Maboe drew the Team of Choice level in the 85th minute to make the second leg very enticing.
All the KZN outfit needs is a goalless draw to advance to the final and I’m expecting a defensive display from them. Coach Fadlu Davids has enough depth and experience in defence with players like Bevan Fransman and Siyanda Xulu being very impressive.
SuperSport United will sure be looking for an early goal to turn the tie on its head. Coach Eric Tinkler will be hoping that players like Bradley Globler, Clayton Daniels and Dean Furman who are on national duty don’t sustain any injuries. He will also be hoping fatigue doesn’t get the better of them
SuperSport United have so far this season outsmarted Kaizer Chiefs twice, once in the league and once in the MTN8 but they were beaten 2-0 by Mamelodi Sundowns in a very one-sided match. Both teams know what to play for now and I foresee Maritzburg United holding on for dear life and coming away with a goalless draw.
Sunday 10 September
Bidvest Wits 9/10 | Draw 22/10 | Cape Town City 3/1
This is a match that will require a lot of tactical discipline as these teams are now meeting for the third time in less than a month. Benni McCarthy’s Cape Town City has won both the previous two matches 1-0 against the defending champions. Things have been going well for the newly-appointed coach ever since he took over the position with team collecting all six points in their first two league matches.
The Citizens have lost the PSL’s Footballer of the Season to Turkish giants, Konyaspor, but it’s interesting to note that in anticipation of the move, Benni hasn’t used him recently, which equips the team with readiness to deal with his departure.
I expected Bidvest Wits to come out flying this season after signing the likes of Steven Pienaar, Daylon Claasen and Amr Gamal but the team hasn’t gelled quickly enough and there seems to be a lot happening behind the scenes. Some key players who helped the team secure the league and MTN8 double last season are being overlooked and it’s costing the Clever Boys.
In all competitions, Wits have played four games so far, losing two and drawing two. That doesn’t make for good reading for a team of their calibre and it will take a great deal of team spirit to turn their fortunes around. Knowing Gavin Hunt, he might continue to bench his midfield kingpin Xola “Ten-Ten” Mlambo just to prove a point because he likes to coach against public opinion. Remember, if Cape Town City score first here, Wits will have a mountain to climb. I think this match will end in a draw.