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Tue May 23 07:04:34 SAST 2017

Cup final a bridge too far for Chippa

Mark Gleeson | 2017-05-19 07:28:07.0
Dan Malesela, Head Coach, of Chippa United during the Absa Premiership match between Chippa United and SuperSport United at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on May 17, 2017 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Image by: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images

Often success in a dress rehearsal can backfire in football and so it must be with some caution that Chippa United approach tomorrow's Nedbank Cup semifinal against Supersport United.

The two sides played in a league encounter in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, when Rhulani Manzini's hat-trick handed Chippa three valuable points to lift them out of the PSL's relegation zone.

Now they do it all over again, moving up the coast to the Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane, just outside East London, for the first of the weekend's semifinals.

The winner advances to next month's final to play either Lamontville Golden Arrows or Orlando Pirates.

Chippa had coach Dan Malelsela back on the bench after owner Siviwe Mpengesi put him on special leave last month and promoted assistant Wellington Sambu to run the side.

That desperate measure did not work and Mpengesi restored Malesela to his coaching position at the start of the week.

But it might prove a quick fix for the struggling Eastern Cape outfit, whose midweek win snapped a streak of 13 games without success.

The Nedbank Cup marks the end of Stuart Baxter's tenure at Supersport and he will be seeking to end on a high note. Cup success for a second year would be the perfect sendoff.

Chippa might have got a morale boost but it all points to Supersport being much more motivated.

The match is M1 in the Soccer 6 pool of the week. Let's look at the others:

M2 Bradford City v Millwall:

The League One play-off final decides who goes up to next season's Championship along with Sheffield United and Bolton Wanderers. In the season, both meetings between the two clubs ended 1-1.

M3 Hamilton Academicals v Dundee FC:

Hamilton end the season in Scotland hoping to snap a four-match losing streak. Dundee won their last games against Motherwell and Kilmarnock.

M4 Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Motherwell:

The 4-2 home win for Motherwell over Inverness in their last meeting in April ended a run of six successive games between these two Scottish clubs that had all been won by the away team.

M5 Kilmarnock v Ross County:

Kilmarnock have won the last two clashes between the two, but before that Ross County had won seven in a row in their head-to-head meetings.

M6 Bayern Munich v SC Freiburg:

Bayern's mission for the season is complete as champions again, but they will look to complete a 25th win for the season. Freiburg need a win to avoid any chance that Cologne knock them out of sixth place and deny them a berth in next season's Europa League.

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