SuperSport United Crowned Metropolitan Premier Cup Champions 2016
Date published: 28 March 2016 by Ryan Roberts
On the Sunday afternoon 28 March 2016, SuperSport United were crowned the Metropolitan U19 Premier Cup 2016 Champions. The defeated local side Ajax Cape Town 1-0 in a very closely contested affair.
Kick-off was at 3pm local time and everything got set off under the scorching African sun.
It took both teams a few minutes to settle into the game as both team looked to feel each other out before growing more confident. SuperSport settled the quicker of the two and were soon looking to utilize their right flank to gain some advantage over the Ajax defence. But there was no break through early on for SuperSport and their leading striker and tournament top goal scorer Fagri Lakay, despite a few opportunities that came their way.
Ajax soon found their stride and started to impress their possession based style of play onto SuperSport. The SuperSport midfield in turn dropped deeper as the first half continued. SuperSport then looked to utilize the long ball extensively in the hope that frontman Lakay could cause problems but he found himself isolated upfront, with the excellent Shane Saralina marshalling his cohorts to nullify the threat with great effect in the first half.
With the score level at half-time the second half got underway as two heavyweight boxers sussing each other out at the beginning of the final round of their title fight, with light jabs and reposts in the opening moments.
Then all of a sudden it came to life as SuperSport caught Ajax with a sweet combo that would see them take the crucial goal that brought them one step closer to winning the title since their last success in 2010. SuperSport United’s star man Fagri Lakay once again in the thick of the action as he bombed into space down their right flank and put in a cross on the edge of the box that fell at the feet of Nelson Maluleka. The number 10 made no mistake in striking the ball sweetly into the bottom corner past the despairing dive of Darren Johnson in the Ajax goal. The strike was strike cleanly on the half-volley just after it had bounced off the pitch. 1-0 SuperSport.
Where the 3-in-behind for SuperSport had left their striker isolated in the first half, they now played a lot closer to him in the second and the effect on the game was showing. The goal was due to those players being in the attacking areas of the box whereas in the first half they were closer to the centre circle in those same situations.
Ajax made a few substitutions in an attempt to restore parity in the scores. The changes seemed to aid the cause and Ajax were only denied an equalizer out of the top drawer as Mondli Mpoto pulled out a world class save most top professional goalkeepers would be proud of today Masilake Phohlongo who was having more influence on the game now.
SuperSport then made a change to turn the tide of Ajax pressure which had been building up. The brought on the tricky Safwan Hendricks in an attempt to push back the Ajax defence but Ajax had already gone into all-out attack mode now and the game became a landscape attacking and reposting all the way to the final whistle.
Lakay had a chance to bury the game as you left his marker in the dust but was denied by the brilliant Johnson and was unable to apply a finishing touch when the rebound fell to him.
Phohlongo had by now moved into top gear and was revelling in the space the open game was affording him. He had a few attempts at goal and set up other for some good opportunities but the finishing touches were just not quite enough to trouble Mpoto.
As we went into the last minute of play Ajax even sent up their goalkeeper in an attempt to sneak that elusive goal in the dying moments of the match.
The match came to an end with SuperSport once again bombarding the Ajax goal but they could not convert and the shrill of the referees whistle called and end to this thrilling encounter once the ball had been skied over by Fagrie Lakay.
Final scores: Ajax Cape Town 0 – 1 SuperSport United
SuperSport were deserved winners not only for the performance in the final but for being the standout team over the 6 days of competitions. There however plenty of players to look out for over the next years who showcased their talents in this final. For SuperSport Riyaaz Ismail showed many of the traits to be a top defender in years to come. It would be great to see a partnership with him and Saralina possibly. The SuperSport captain Teboho Mokoena showed great leadership, drive, and determination in marshalling the midfield. SuperSport right back Kabelo Seriba show great skill, power and loads of pace to stand out as one to watch for the future. Mondli Mpoto was the best keeper at the event but faced immense competition for the title from many others that took part. Ajax’s Grant Magerman was also one of those who put in great performances over the six days and his midfield tussle with Mokoena throughout the final was something to behold.
Now the 2016 spectacle is done and dusted we get ourselves ready for the qualifiers of the 2017 event.