Early strike sends SuperSport into Nedbank Cup final eight

SuperSport United had advanced into the final eight of the Nedbank Cup after a 1-0 win over Platinum City Rovers at the Profert Olen Park on Saturday evening.

An early strike from Selaelo Rasebotja seemed to suggest a flurry of goals was on the card for top-flight Matsatsantsa against their second-tier Glad Africa Championship opponents, but no further net-rippling action arrived – despite the Tshwane visitors putting in a dominant display, especially in the first 45 minutes.

SuperSport got off to an absolute flyer and claimed the lead within the opening 30 seconds of the match. Iqraam Rayners did great work to collect a cross missed by Rovers goalkeeper Thabiso Mabitsela, before teeing up midfielder Rasebotja to fire home from the right side of the penalty area.

United went on to assert their dominance in terms of possession and chances created, but struggled to add to their advantage in the first half. Striker Thamsanqa Gabuza was a true menace to the hosts’ defence, coming close to a second goal in the 22nd minute when he struck the crossbar with a close-range header.

He also sent a swerving shot just over the crossbar, and was denied by ‘keeper Mabitsela in the 29th and 36th minutes, as Matsatsantsa were able to flow forward and trouble Rovers’ rearguard seemingly at will.

On 42 minutes the in-form Jesse Donn let fly from long range and produced a fantastic effort on target, but Mabitsela put up a strong hand to turn the ball over the top for a corner kick.

On the cusp of halftime, SuperSport were awarded a penalty for a clumsy challenge from Thabo Sebego on Aubrey Ngoma. Gabuza took on the spot kick, but was denied by Mabitsela’s best save of the match – diving low to his left – to leave the game just 1-0 in favour of Matsatsantsa at the interval.

After the restart, SuperSport lost the attacking rhythm they enjoyed in the first half, though they continued to control the game and still created some notable chances from set pieces – with Thatayaone Ditlhokwe guilty of a couple of misses from corner kicks.

Rovers looked to their bench to shake things up and try force a way back into the contest – with the likes of William Radebe, Eric Ntlaba and Tebogo Sodi introduced through the course of the second half – but they were unable to rattle a resilient United defence, let alone test highly-rated goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.

SuperSport had the chance to kill off the game once and for all in injury time when a counter gave Ghampani Lungu a clear sight of goal, but another fine save from Mabitsela kept the score down to 1-0.

However, it did not prevent United joining Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila, University of Pretoria, Royal AM, Marumo Gallants and Mamelodi Sundowns as quarterfinalists thus far.

Platinum City Rovers 0

SuperSport United (1) 1 (Rasebotja 1’)

Rovers: Mabitsela, Sebego, Shaku, Mofokeng, Mashele (Madonsela 75’), Wagaba, Vilakazi, Manyisa (Ntlaba 75’), Mojela (Sodi 75’), Banyana (Mokwana 46’), Ndlovu (Radebe 82’)

SuperSport: Williams, Phillips, Johannes, Ditlhokwe, Ngobeni, Rayners, Donn, Rasebotja, Ngoma (Bhasera 68’), Lungu, Gabuza