Thamsanqa Gabuza’s strike was cancelled out by Gaston Sirino as SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns drew 1-1 in the first leg of their MTN8 semi-final.
The Brazilians made only one change from their victory over Bloemfontein Celtic in midweek, as Wayne Arendse returned the line up. Meanwhile, Kaitano Tembo handed starts to Sipho Mbule and Thamsanqa Gabuza.
Masandawana created the first chance in the ninth minute after Gaston Sirino was denied by goalkeeper Ronwen Williams, who also denied kept out Sibusiso Vilakazi’s header on the goal-line. United were growing in the game after the half-hour mark as they finally found the breakthrough four minutes before the break as Gabuza powered home a divingheader inside the box, following a cross from Onismor Bhasera.
SuperSport’s joy was short-lived as Sundowns responded immediately after the restart, with Sirino firing a powerful strike into the roof of the net just before the halftime break. Pitso Mosimane’s army almost fell behind five minutes inside the second stanza after a cross at the back post came off Arendse’s knee but Onyango prevented the own goal with an acrobatic save.
The Brazilians were finding opportunities after the hour-mark but they were wasteful upfront, which prompted Tembo to bring on Jamie Webber in place of Teboho Mokoena. Former Orlando Pirates winger Thabo Qalinge was handed his debut seven minutes before time in a tactical, but he was unable to help his side claim another goal as the encounter ended all square, although Sundowns do have an away goal. The second-leg is set to take place after the international break on Wednesday, 18 September at the same Stadium.
Here’s how they lined up:
SuperSport: 30. Williams, 18. Nhlapo, 4. Daniels, 3. Khumalo, 14. Bhasera, 8. Furman, 28. Mokoena, 24. Mbule, 19. Rusike, 13. Gabuza, 7. Grobler.
Subs: 33. Pule, 25. Fleurs, 12. Webber, 16. Modiba, 15. Qalinge, 11. Mahachi, 7. Lungu.
Sundowns: 14. Onyango, 16. Ngconca, 6. Arendse, 5. Lebusa, 4. Langerman, 24. Seabi,8. Kekana, 18. Zwane, 10. Sirino, 11. Vilakazi, 33. Maboe.
Subs: 30. Pieterse, 13. Mabunda, 7. Lakay, 21. Mkhulise, 12. Tade, 2. Madisha, 15. Jali