Soccer Laduma’s ‘Team of The Week’ is a feature in most editions of Soccer Laduma, highlighting the previous week’s top performers.
Selections this week are based on the past weekend’s first leg of MTN8 semi-final matches.
The first semi-final got underway on Saturday night in Johannesburg, when Bidvest Wits hosted new boys Cape Town City at the Bidvest Stadium. Both sides struggled to hold onto possession in the opening 15 minutes, although Wits created a couple openings for Gabadinho Mhango, who failed to finish.
Wits finally broke the deadlock after 22 minutes, as constant threat Mhango found Eleazar Rodgers with a curling chip, who poked home from six yards.
Cape Town City tried to build some rhythm and got stronger as the half went on, with Matt Sim and Lebogang Manyama getting on the ball more, only for the Wits defence to stand firm.
Wits then made it 2–0, as Elias Pelembe did well to skip two challenges before slotting in a low finish past Shu-Aib Walters. It was 3–0 before the break, as Tshepo Gumede's poor header allowed Mhango to sneak in and lob the on-rushing Walters on the stroke of half-time.
The home side comfortably stayed in cruise control throughout the second half until the final whistle and will take a 3 -0 lead to Cape Town for the second leg encounter.
The second semi-final, and last game of the weekend, took place in Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, when Chippa United and Mamelodi Sundowns met.
The game started at a good tempo in the opening 20 minutes, the Chilli Boys dominating possession with the likes of Thamsanqa Sangweni and Thembinkosi Lorch enjoying a strong influence on the game.
The first scoring opportunity was for Sundowns in the 37th minute, when Ricardo Nascimento headed wide of the upright from close range.
The home side nearly broke the deadlock after 75 minutes through Lorch, but the midfielder's powerful effort forced Denis Onyango into a superb save.
Unfortunately, the thrilling game saw no team break the deadlock in the closing stages and both will have it all to play for in the second leg.
Every Monday you will get the chance to post your ‘Team of The Week’. See how close you get to the one which appears in the new edition of Soccer Laduma on Wednesday.