Cape Town - Every fan wearing a blue T-shirt has been promised free entrance by SuperSport United to the return leg of the historic cup final. I was going to wear my blue (well, more cream/light/faded blue now) SuperSport League Champions 2009/10 t-shirt, but I'll be on baby daddy duty so I won't be able to make it. I’ll be watching while trying to convince my son that cartoons are evil. Will SuperSport United be the second South African team in 12 months to win a continental championship?
After a nervy start, Eric Tinkler has enjoyed good results in the past couple of months. His team won the MTN 8 trophy, are in the CAF Confederations Cup final, and his central defensive pair of Morgan Gould and Clayton Daniels have not murdered anyone yet.
In the final, SuperSport United are up against Congolese giants and defending champs TP Mazembe. SuperSport United managed to escape Lubumbashi with an important away goal despite their 2-1 defeat to the title holders.
"We are happy with a 2-1 loss because we know we only need a goal at home and whatever we score they have to score double," said Tinkler earlier this week.
Tinkler will have Reneilwe Letsholonyane back from suspension and Teboho Mokoena will return after missing the first leg with a slight knock. Bad news for Tinkler will be the absence of his best defender and human pole-axe Morgan Gould who he is suspended.
Reigning CAF Confederation champs TP Mazembe are one game away from defending their crown.
Here are some TP Mazembe statistics that may worry Eric Tinkler (Supersport United supporters you can skip to the next section because this may be hard for you to read.)
? TP Mazembe are unbeaten in seven months (That's two months shy of a human beings full pregnancy cycle)
? TP Mazembe's are on a 19 game undefeated run in all competitions (number 19 has much of the same qualities as number 1. This is because the digit sum equals 1; 1+9=10 – 1+0=1. TP Mazembe= 1, get it?)
? They have scored 37 goals during that time (1.9 goals per game, They score a lot of goals)
? They’ve conceded just 9 goals on that run (0.5 goals per game. i.e. They don't let in a lot of goals)
? They love playing in South Africa (sources in the TP Mazembe camp told me the team thinks the Lucas Moripe Stadium is Disneyland compared to other stadia in Africa)
SuperSport United last 10 games record in the CAF Confederations Cup
LWDDDWDDDW (60% win rate)
SuperSport United last five home games record in the CAF Confederations Cup
DDWDD (20% win rate)
TP Mazembe last 10 games record in the CAF Confederations Cup
WDWWWWWDDD (70% win rate)
TP Mazembe last five home games record in the CAF Confederations Cup
DWWDD (40% win rate)
Who’s my money on?
Bet.co.za has SuperSport United favoured to win in regulation at 1.30 and TP Mazembe at 1.80 respectively.
SuperSport United are at home and the public will surely be coming out (if they aren't on baby daddy duty like me) to support them.
These teams met earlier on in the group stage (group D) and played out two draws. SuperSport United need a win but losing isn't something TP Mazembe has become accustomed to in the past seven months. United have to chase the game and that is never a good thing, Mazembe can sit back and play on the counter even though their manager Mihayo Kazembe claimed they would not employ that tactic.
“If we go there and try to contain them, it will be difficult for us because the opponent can put you under pressure every time,” he said.
You'd be naive to believe him. TP Mazembe are an experienced team who have been there, done that and given out better quality t-shirt's than SuperSport did in 2009/10. Tinkler, of course, has been here too, in 2015, but with a different team in Orlando Pirates. I don't see SuperSport keeping them out. Mazembe will score but so will SuperSport.
It’s a tough one to call but
SuperSport can win if they get an early goal. Should United fail to get a
first-half goal or go behind in the first half then my crystal ball foresees a
TP Mazembe win in regulation time.