Orlando Stadium will host the MTN8 final between Moroka Swallows and SuperSport United on Saturday night with R8 million in prize money up for grabs. SuperSport United will be making their debut in the final, while Moroka Swallows will be hoping for a second time lucky, after the disappointment of losing out narrowly to Orlando Pirates on penalties three years ago.
Swallows advanced to the final by beating Mamelodi Sundowns 3-2 (6-5 on aggregate) in their second leg semi-final at the Dobsonville Stadium three weeks ago, while United comfortbaly saw off ten-man Orlando Pirates 3-0 at Orlando Stadium.
It’s two wins and two losses for Moroka Swallows in the league after they lost 3-2 to newly promoted University of Pretoria in Dobsonville last weekend. Coach Zeca Marques admitted after the game that the MTN8 final played a big part in their defeat, with players not putting in their all to avoid injury. With five goals on the evening, AmaTuks saw less of the ball, but were never behind in the match, with The Birds coming back twice to level the scores. Bennet Chenene and Katlego Mashego netted for the Birds. Swallows started the season off with their 2-0 quarter-final win against AmaZulu. A first half brace from Chabangu helped Swallows record a 3-2 win over Sundowns in the second leg of the semi-final at Dobsonville Stadium after drawing 3-3 in the first leg. Bennet Chenene scored the third goal of the match as he did in the first leg. A victory here will be a big achievement for the club as their last trophy came in 2009 in the Nedbank Cup.
After Gavin Hunt’s men started the league with three successive draws, scoring just a single goal in that run, they finally managed to pick up their first three points last weekend. They hosted AmaZulu at the Peter Mokaba Stadium and cruised to a 3-0 victory that moved them up to sixth spot on the table. Mabhuti Khenyeza scored a first-half brace while Clifford Mulenga killed off the game seven minutes from time. Matsatsantsa’s performances in the MTN8 have been superb. They started off with a hard fought 2-1 victory over Free State Stars (unbeaten in the league) in the quarter-finals, with Nathan Paulse and Franklin Cale getting the goals. They then played out a goalless draw against Pirates in the first leg of the semi-final before thrashing them 3-0 at this very same stadium in the second leg with well-taken goals by Ashley Hartog, Clifford Mulenga and Mabhuti Khenyeza. Last season’s Nedbank Cup champions have conceded just two goals in seven games in all competitions this season with Bevan Fransman proving a more than valuable replacement for Morgan Gould, who moved to Kaizer Chiefs. George Maluleka and Franklin Cale have also proved great assets so far this season.
SuperSport have had the better of Swallows in recent meetings with The Birds only wining two of the last 16 head-to-heads to SuperSport’s 7 victories. Swallows have conceded 12 goals in their seven matches in all competitions compared to just two goals conceded by Gavin Hunt’s men who are still unbeaten. Matsatsantsa have also shown improvement in attacking play with their recent three goal wins over Pirates and AmaZulu. SuperSport are tipped to get the win and be crowned 2012 MTN8 champions.