04 October 2019, by: Leonard Solms
MTN8 Final: Supersport United Strengths and Weaknesses
Ahead of SuperSport United’s MTN8 final showdown with Highlands Park on Saturday, we analyse Matsatsantsa’s strongest characteristics as well as some of the areas which Highlands Park can look to capitalise on.
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SuperSport United possess a fearsome attacking force with the potential to hurt Highlands Park through many different avenues.
Bradley Grobler has been the main headline-grabber of late, bagging six goals in the league and MTN8 in 2019-20. His finishing ability is beyond doubt, but the 31-year-old also has a knack for dropping deep and picking out passes.
There is also Thamsanqa Gabuza, a former Orlando Pirates striker with tremendous physical strength. Gabuza struggled to find the back of the net at the Buccaneers, but he has been clinical so far for his new club. He is the MTN8 top scorer with three goals this season and his hold-up play is vital to the team.
Evans Rusike, whose goalscoring form at Maritzburg United led to his move to Matsatsantsa, adds another weapon to Kaitano Tembo’s arsenal with his pace and versatility. Rusike is comfortable playing out wide or upfront.
Teboho Mokoena, Sipho Mbule and Jamie Webber are exciting midfield prospects who can add goals to the team. Meanwhile, Dean Furman serves his purpose as the hardworking anchorman.
SuperSport United are a threat when counter-attacking, but they also tend to leave themselves open to being attacked themselves. They are fortunate to have fullbacks capable of contributing on attack, but they need to be wary of leaving themselves exposed.
Kaitano Tembo would not have enjoyed Kermit Erasmus bullying SuperSport United out wide and running at ageing centre-back Clayton Daniels in the 3-3 draw with Cape Town City.
Matsatsantsa have conceded nine goals in seven league matches despite having a quality goalkeeper in Ronwen Williams. For all his ability going forward, Onismor Bhasera has been one of the main culprits defensively of late.
The Zimbabwean left-back was fortunate not to concede a penalty in the semifinal win over Mamelodi Sundowns after diving recklessly into a tackle. When Bhasera made the same mistake in the 3-1 Premiership defeat to Polokwane City, his luck ran out and he was sent off.
He now finds himself suspended for this match and an already struggling backline will have to do without the 33-year-old.
At least SuperSport United kept a clean sheet in the 1-0 weekend win over AmaZulu, the first of two games for which Bhasera has been suspended.
In the versatile Aubrey Modiba, Matsatsantsa have a fairly safe pair of hands on the left flank.
Perhaps SuperSport United’s most important quality, however, is big match temperament. Although their record in finals recently has been hit and miss, they have consistently earned the right to appear in them.
In their third consecutive MTN8 final, South Africa’s cup specialists will be a tough team to beat.
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