Result: Stellenbosch 1-0 SuperSport United
Date: 14 February 2020
Venue: Cape Town Stadium
SuperSport United's Absa Premiership title hopes suffered another blow after a 1-0 loss to Stellenbosch in Cape Town on Friday evening.
Stellies made three changes from their Nedbank Cup loss to Maritzburg United, as goalkeeper Lee Langeveldt, Marc van Heerden and Iqraam Rayners all returned to the side. On the other side, SuperSport handed a start Botswana international Thatayaone Ditlhokwe.
Matsatsantsa looked the livelier of the two sides in the early stages but were kept at bay by the compact Stellies’ defence that was playing deep.
SuperSport had to wait until 30 minutes for a chance to break the deadlock just awith a free-kick from just outside the box but Teboho Mokwena’s curler sailed just wide of the upright.
Kaitano Tembo’s charges were starting to find gaps in the last third after that and Sipho Mbule almost got the breakthrough with a header from the centre of the box that sailed narrowly over the bar.
Steve Barker’s troops hardly troubled SuperSport goalkeeper Ronwen Williams in the closing phase of the first stanza, with United having the momentum although there was no breaktrough in the opening 45 minutes.
The visitors had a good chance to net the opener five minutes from the break after Kudakwashe Mahachi went clear on the left side of the box from Mbule’s through ball but Langerveldt came out of his line quickly to make a great save.
Stellies surprisingly broke the deadlock on the hour-mark after Nathan Sankala got his first goal for the club with powerful header from Rayners’ corner, with Williams getting a foot to the effort but unable to keep it out.
Asavela Mbekile had a glorious opportunity to double Stellenbosch’ lead in the 67th minute after breaking clear on goal from a counter-attack but he fired straight at Williams in a one-on-one situation.
Barker closed up shop at the back with 13 minutes remaining, as he brought on defender Kristopher Bergman in place of Mbekile.
SuperSport pressurised Stellies in the closing minutes desperate for the equaliser but the Western Cape side held on to clinch all three points and moved up to seventh on the log while United were stuck in fourth place.
Here's how they lined up:
Stellenbosch: 35. Langeveldt, 42. Mobbie, 13. Van Heerden, 5. Mthethwa, 16. Johannes, 32. Mbekile, 23. Sinkala, 8. Matsi, 10. Rayners, 17. Karuru, 29. Moon.
Subs: 31. De Jong, 21. Isaacs, 18. Skelem, 15. Bergman, 3. Ndlovu, 6. Moroole, 20. Robertson.
SuperSport: 30. Williams, 14. Bhasera, 20. Kekana, 29. Ditlhokwe, 4. Daniels, 28. Mokoena, 24. Mbule, 8. Furman, 11. Mahachi, 22. Manziba, 7. Grobler.
Subs: 33. Pule, 26. Donn, 13. Gabuza, 25. Fleurs, 16. Modiba, 23. Waiswa, 17. Lungu.