Supersport, Stars through to Nedbank Cup quarterfinals

2013-03-13 22:08

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SuperSport United were pushed all the way by a brave Vasco da Gama side, but the top-flight outfit ultimately emerged 2-1 victors in their Nedbank Cup last 16 tie at Athlone Stadium tonight.

The First Division side scored first through Robbie Santo, but goals from Mark Haskins and Thabiso Nkoana salvaged the match for Matsatsantsa as they booked their place in the quarterfinals.

United were on top from the outset and had a great early chance when Atsue Nyondo found himself in on goal, but he was denied by a superb reflex save from Gershin Kock.

The Tshwane side continued to pose problems, especially through the pace of former FC Cape Town player Prince Nxumalo, who looped an early header just wide.

With 10 minutes gone the hosts had a good opportunity to score, but Ronwen Williams did well to save an attempt from George Akpabio.

Vasco took a shock lead against the run of play when long-time club servant Santo cleverly floated his free kick into the box at an angle.

With defender Francois Adams challenging for the ball, but failing to get contact on it, Williams was left in two minds as to which way the ball would go, with the free kick ultimately sneaking inside the far post.

Following the goal, the home side settled down and the game developed into a cat-and-mouse affair.

SuperSport were nonetheless able to level the scores seven minutes before the break when some neat interplay around the box ended with Haskins coolly strolling past Angel Julius before finishing with a composed shot into the bottom corner.

The second half saw the game opening up, with the visitors having a couple of early chances as Nkoana headed straight at Kock and then Jabu Maluleke flashed an effort across the goalmouth.

The winning goal came with seven minutes remaining, after a well taken effort by Nkoana, who showed strength to hold up the ball in the box before expertly turning and firing the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

The hosts fought hard in an effort to equalise, but they failed to test Williams in the closing moments of a hard-fought knockout battle.

Meanwhile, Platinum Stars also booked their place in the quarter-finals, courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Black Leopards at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane this evening.

Tintswalo Tshabalala broke the deadlock in the 29th minute, before Henrico Botes added a second on the hour mark.

Stars advanced into the round of 16 with a 1-0 victory over National First Division side Dynamos, while Leopards were made to fight for their 5-4 victory over Cape Town Stars a fortnight ago.

Stars have impressed in the Premiership this season, sitting third behind Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, and will hope to consolidate their good form with a successful Cup run.

Leopards find themselves at the other end of the league table -- third-bottom -- and will now focus on avoiding the danger zone for the rest of the season, in a bid to remain in the country’s top-tier.

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