SuperSport hang on for dramatic Nedbank Cup win

SuperSport United held off wave after wave of Orlando Pirates attacks to claim a thrilling 3-2 victory in the Nedbank Cup final at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Matsatsantsa were the dominant force in the first half and established a 3-1 lead, but the Buccaneers came back strong after the break and threw everything but the kitchen sink at Stuart Baxter’s side, who stood firm in defence to claim the glory.

The Nedbank Cup triumph is coach Stuart Baxter’s second (he won the 2013 title with Kaizer Chiefs), while Pirates end the season without a trophy and it could spell the end of Eric Tinkler’s tenure in charge of the club.

SuperSport very nearly claimed the lead within seconds of the kick off, with Dove Wome firing a shot from outside the box toward the top corner but Pirates goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo made a superb save to palm the ball away.

Instead it was the Buccaneers who opened the scoring in the 12th minute. A fine pass in midfield put Tendai Ndoro through on goal – his low shot was well saved by Ronwen Williams, but the loose ball was turned home at close range by a combination of Luvoyo Memela and Sibusiso Khumalo.

However, Pirates’ lead last just two minutes before United restored parity. Right-back Michael Boxall managed to create some space down the right flank before providing perfect cross for Jeremy Brockie, who easily converted with his head to make it 1-1.

The equaliser was the first example of some terribly slack defending from Eric Tinkler’s side, and they conceded a further two goals in the first half.

First, on 30 minutes, a loss of possession in midfield from Thabo Rakhale allowed Brockie to get a shot on goal – Mhlongo saved the effort, but the rebound fell kindly for Bradley Grobler, who fired home a volley to put the Tshwane side ahead.

A few minutes before the break it was 3-1, with Michael Morton denied by a brave block from Mhlongo, but again the loose ball fell kindly for a player in blue – this time Boxall was able to leap up and direct a header into the unguarded net.

The theme of incompetent defending continued early in the second half when Pirates pulled a goal back. Sifiso Myeni provided a cross from the left which was missed by Boxall and seemed to take Clayton Daniels by surprise: he missed a stooping header, the ball deflected off his legs and beat Williams for a comical own goal.

With SuperSport forced onto the back foot for most of the second half, they had further difficulties when Williams was forced off with a calf injury. Youngster Boalefa Pule replaced him to make his PSL debut and proceeded to make several important saves, most notably from Thabo Matlaba in the 84th minute.

SuperSport United (3) 3 (Brockie 14’, Grobler 30’, Boxall 42’)

Orlando Pirates (1) 2 (Memela 12’, Daniels og 53’)


SuperSport United: Williams (Pule 77’), Boxall, Booysen, Daniels, Khumalo, Phala, Furman, Morton, Wome (Kekana 87’), Grobler, Brockie (Nkhatha 90’)

Orlando Pirates: Mhlongo, Nyauza (Qalinge 85’), Gyimah, Gcaba, Matlaba, Rakhale (Jele 46’), Sarr, Makola, Myeni, Memela (Gabuza 78’), Ndoro