Johannesburg - SuperSport United have often been accused of not taking CAF competitions seriously, but the team appear to have developed a different mentality this year by displaying a dogged determination to make their mark at the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup.
Matsatsantsa a Pitori have gone through their group stages unbeaten against decent opposition, such as TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Horoya from Guinea.
United on Saturday made their intentions clear as they demolished Gabon side CF Mounana by four goals to one in their final group match to book their passage to the quarterfinal of the competition.
In doing so, Matsatsantsa join their illustrious neighbours, Sundowns, in the quarterfinals of a continental competition.
The Brazilians booked their Champions League last eight spot with a game to spare.
The two teams from Tshwane will represent Mzansi in the quarterfinal stages of the CAF Cup and Champions League.
A hat-trick by Jeremy Brockie and a goal by Thabo Mnyamane booked United a place in the knockout stages.
Matsatsantsa finished behind Mazembe on 10 points, two fewer than the Congo side.
Eric Tinkler’s team will face Group C winners Zesco United from Zambia in the next round, while TP Mazembe will take on Egyptian side Smouha SC.
Tinkler watched from the stands as SuperSport’s assistant coach, Kaitano Tembo, took charge of the game.
The Tshwane giants had to win the game at all costs as they started two points behind joint leaders TP Mazembe and Horoya.
It was not a matter of if, but when the home side would unlock the visitors’ defence as they searched for an early goal.
Without game plan
It eventually came through the boot of Brockie, who tucked away defender Aubrey Modiba’s inviting cross home in the first quarter of the hour.
The floodgates opened as the goals started to come in against the hapless visitors.
The central African club posed no threat to the home side in the opening half as goals were there for the taking.
Mnyamane completed the brace in that big win in Gabon in May and seems to enjoy scoring against Mounana.
He continued his goal-scoring spree against the Gabonese team as he added the second one on the half-hour mark.
Matsatsantsa were toying with their free-falling opponents as Brockie strengthened his hold as the tournament’s leading marksman by completing a first-half hat-trick to take his tally to 10.
Mounana have leaked 14 goals in six matches. They entered this match without a game plan, and their shaky defence collapsed dramatically. However, it is worth noting that all Mounana’s four goals in the group stages have come against SuperSport.
One would have thought that the South Africans would build on their lead in the second half, but they took their eye off the ball and allowed Mounana to score, with Junior Mensah sneaking in a consolation goal.