SuperSport shock United

2011-10-15 00:00

IT might have been a top-of-the-table clash on paper, but in practice SuperSport United’s 7-0 destruction of Maritzburg United at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville last night showed the gulf in class to be far wider than that.

The KZN team came into the game in third place to SuperSport’s first, but exited it looking a side that might struggle to finish in the top 10.

The game featured this week’s newly named PSL coach of the month, Maritzburg’s Ian Palmer, and player of the month SuperSport’s free-scoring Malawian striker, Atusaye Nyondo.

Palmer’s award was in recognition of his side’s seven-match unbeaten start, though that was unceremoniously brought to an end by the only side not to suffer a defeat.

SuperSport were a model of clinical play in their dismantling of United’s midfield and defence to guarantee they will exit the weekend still top of the log.

The 2008, 2009 and 2010 champions were stung by their seventh-placed finish last season and Gavin Hunt has his side looking focused on challenging for the title again this campaign.

Palmer’s side had a good start and has been credited with producing a strong spirit in his squad.

But last night’s horribly one-sided rout suggests the coach has limited resources to work with. Maritzburg might well have to spend money on beefing up the quality in their squad in the January transfer window if they are to achieve their aim of finishing in the top eight.

SuperSport took the lead early in the 10th minute as Nyondo only needed half a chance to receive a chip just inside the area, turn and excellently loop his shot past Shu-aib Walters from a difficult angle.

Soon the Malawian dangerman was allowed space again on the right byline and his cut-back was missed by Ashley Hartog.

SuperSport made it 2-0 in the 28th via a Byron Hendricks own goal. The defender was unfortunate as he had to stretch for Anthony Laffor’s cross and had Nyondo at his shoulder, with the attempted clearance neatly picking out Walters’s top-right corner.

Maritzburg’s best chance came when Hendricks almost redeemed himself with a header into the top-netting from Kurt Lentjies’s free-kick.

But the home side stretched the United defence again with a third in the 43rd. In a well-constructed move the ball was worked from Nyondo on the left via right-back Bryce Moon, ghosting into the middle, to Tebogo Langerman on the left, who finished easily.

With a three-goal cushion SuperSport had the luxury of strolling through the second half. They notched up a fourth when midfielder Mogogi Gabonamong easily tapped in substitute Jabu Maluleke’s cross from the right in the 71st.

And a fifth in the 76th when Maluleke beat Walters with a mischievous chip from the edge of the area.

Then a sixth in the 81st as Hartog cantered unchecked down the middle and forced a save from Walters, with Maluleke knocking in the rebound. And a seventh when Hartog slipped a finish past the United keeper in the 85th. • Ajax Cape Town and Jomo Cosmos drew 1-1 last night.

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