The Ravens held on to defend their continental crown in Tshwane on Saturday evening
Matsatsantsa went into the second leg of their Confederation Cup final encounter buoyed on by the crucial away goal which they registered in Lubumbashi. But SuperSport coach Eric Tinkler was certainly not resting on his laurels as he named his strongest attacking line up. Tournament top scorer Jeremy Brockie led the line alongside Bradley Grobler, with Reneilwe Letsholonyane returning to the heart of the midfield after missing out on the away leg through suspension.
SuperSport were also given a major boost ahead of kick-off as goalkeeper Ronwen Williams was declared fit despite being doubtful for the clash. The defending champions on the other end looked to make full use of their attacking prowess as they relied on the likes of Adama Traore and Rainford Kalaba for the creative spark which proved fruitful as they used their pace to exploit the wet outfield at the Lucas Moripe Stadium.
Despite the Ravens’ advantage, it was them who took the game to SuperSport during the opening minutes. Nathan Sinkala had an early opportunity, but his powerful drive from outside the box flew well over the bar. Minutes later, Mazembe would come even closer when Kalaba broke the offside trap and found himself with just Williams to beat, but the Zambian completely fluffed his effort to the relief of the home side.
Mazembe were having an absolute nightmare in front of goal and yet again they were guilty of missing an easy opportunity with just over 13 minutes played. This time it was Daniel Adjei who would face the wrath of the Mazembe fans as he skewed his effort wide from point-blank range.
The away side were certainly the more authoritative during the opening stanza but the Tshwane-based outfit began to find their composure as the half progressed. With half an hour played, SuperSport did eventually find the back of the net but Tefu Mashamaite shot was correctly adjudged to have strayed offside.
Although, SuperSport finished the half stronger, they would not create anything further of substance as coach Tinkler would have been disappointed with his sides lack of incisiveness, but would have been pleased not to have gone into the break a goal behind.
The resumption of the second half saw Tinkler look to freshen up his line-up throwing on Grant Kekana for the impressive Siyabonga Nhlapo. SuperSport were clearly more settled after the break and looked threatening. The best chance of the opening passage of the second half fell to Mashamaite, but the experienced defender was unable to direct the ball goal wards.
Mazembe were tiring as the effects of altitude became apparent, and SuperSport’s slick short passing game began to pay off. On the hour mark, SuperSport’s Aubrey Modiba powered through towards the Mazembe goal, but could only watch on as his shot sailed over the crossbar.
In a final throw of the dice, the SuperSport technical team withdrew Brockie in place of the more versatile Dove Wome. The 26-year-old would have SuperSport’s first chance on target with under 20 minutes to go. The Togo international latched onto a heavy cross at the far post but his shot was well saved by Mazembe’s keeper. SuperSport were beginning to run out of gas as the game reached its final stages.
However, they were given hope towards the death as Mazembe went down to 10-men after Kabaso Chongo was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence. The advantage though was short-lived as Thuso Phala was also sent off for a needless challenge on the Mazembe defender, ending any hopes of a SuperSport comeback.
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