“This is a very important game,” Erick Mathoho says about Saturday’s MTN8 quarterfinal against SuperSport United. “It’s only one chance – you progress to the next round or you are out. It’s a must-win game.”
Amakhosi host Matsatsantsa at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium (kick-off is at 20:15).
The two sides faced each other three times last season. The first was the one-all draw in an Absa Premiership game at FNB Stadium in November 2016. SuperSport got 1-0 up, before George Lebese equalised.
They met each other again in a league game in April, with the encounter finishing in a two-all draw. Siphiwe Tshabalala scored a brace.
A week before that clash, Chiefs and SuperSport faced each other in the Nedbank Cup quarterfinal at FNB Stadium. Matsatsantsa scored the opener in the 72th minute, before Ramahlwe Mphahlele equalised five minutes later.
The visitors, however, eventually won 5-3 after penalties. They even went on to win the Nedbank Cup, beating Orlando Pirates in the final.
“It won’t be an easy game,” admits Mathoho, “because, of course, they also want to win. But we prepared well.”
The Glamour Boys enjoyed a good pre-season and in particularly impressed in the Carling Black Label Champion Cup match against Orlando Pirates, winning 1-0. Bernard Parker scored the goal.
“We played very well in that game,” adds the lanky defender. “We have to take our form on that day into the MTN8 quarterfinal.”
Matsatsantsa has a new coach this season with Eric Tinkler replacing Stuart Baxter, who has taken over the reins of the South African national team.
“We are not sure what to expect,” Mathoho says about the way SuperSport will play on Saturday, “because of them having a new coach. On the other hand, Tinkler’s soccer philosophy is a bit the same as that of Baxter – they both like the transition game. However, whatever approach they will take, we will be ready.”