Horror goalkeeping by Williams costs SuperSport in continental final

19 November 2017 - 18:03 By Mark Gleeson
Thuso Phala challenged by Denwin Farmer of Supersport United during 2017 CAF Confederations Cup Final Supersport United training at TP Mazembe Stadium in Stade Kamalondo DRC on 17 November 2017.
Thuso Phala challenged by Denwin Farmer of Supersport United during 2017 CAF Confederations Cup Final Supersport United training at TP Mazembe Stadium in Stade Kamalondo DRC on 17 November 2017.
Image: Aubrey Kgakatsi /BackpagePix

A horror goalkeeping performance by Ronwen Williams and some dreadful misses right in front of goal cost SuperSport United the chance to all but seal up the African Confederation Cup in the first leg of the final in Lubumbashi on Sunday afternoon.

But the South Africans will still be hopeful they will be able to overturn a 2-1 deficit and go on and win a first-ever continental title.

They need only win 1-0 in Saturday’s return leg in Atteridgeville to take the trophy on the away goals rule.

The potentially vital away goal came from 19-year-old Sipho Mbule, making only his second start for the club, who were beset by suspension and injury going into the game.

He hit a stinging long range shot into the back of the net to announce his arrival on the big stage with much aplomb.

The 47th minute equaliser came after Mazembe had take the lead through Adama Traore and before Daniel Adjei got a 67th minute winner.

A hot afternoon on a bouncy artificial surface was always going to be difficult for SuperSport but they were surprisingly dominant coming out of the blocks although by the end of the game looked tired and had to hold out.

In the closing stages, Mazembe were denied a clear penalty when Dean Furman brought down substitute Solomon Asante and the oversight by the Algerian referee Mehdi Abid Charef was a massive bonus for Eric Tinkler’s team.

There was even another legitimate looking appeal right on the final whistle when Tefu Mashamaite handled the ball but it was not seen by the officials.

The game began brightly when Clayton Daniel had a free header at the back post from Thuso Phala’s 10th minute free kick that keeper Levy Matampi saved and then Bradley Grobler should have scored from close range but somehow managed to squeeze his effort wide just a metre from the line after Phala again provided a good chance.

Matampi made a double save in the 14th minute to deny Dove Wome, after Grobler had teed him up, and then a rasping short from Siyabonga Nhlapo.

Mazembe’s first real effort came as Chico Ushindi hit the upright with an effort from the right in the 18th minute and immediately after a half volley from long range from Mali international Traore caught out Williams.

The Bafana Bafana back-up looked to punch away the shot rather than catch it and it slip right through his hands with Williams’ claiming he was unsighted. But it was a poor piece of goalkeeping which then took some of the fizz out of the SuperSport side.

Wome did have a chance to equalise with a good turn and shot that was just wide and near the end of the first half, SuperSport were piling on the pressure on again as forced several corners.

Mazembe, for their much vaunted reputation, looked tactically inferior with too many long balls punted up-field.

After the break Mbule’s wonder strike had SuperSport right back in but Mazembe seemed energised by the concession of the goal and bossed the second stanza as SuperSport visibly tired.

Mazembe’s second goal was simply done at a corner as Asante pulled it back for Adjei whose shot caught Williams and it dipped through his body when he looked to have it covered.

ANC Conference 2017
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