By NAKAMPE LEKWADU
LOVE him or hate him, but Gavin Hunt is seems to have finally found the right winning combination for SuperSport United.
Hunt has done it again this evening after he guided Matsatsantsa A Pitori to a 1-0 victory over the visiting Santos in the Absa Premiership match played at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville, Tshwane.
Ashley Hartog scored the all important goal that ensured the Tshwane outfit’s victory that saw them maintain their unbeaten record in ten league matches and the top spot with 24 points. For the record, United are the only club which is still unbeaten in the Premiership and it remain to be seen if their current performance will lead them to another league title which eluded them last season.
With Kaizer Chiefs having played to a goalless draw away to Maritzburg United at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape in another league match, Hunt and his charges should be in cloud nine by their win as they are aware that they will be on top of the summit for the next two weeks as the outcome tomorrow night in the other matches will not affect them.
Back to the game, United could have scored a number of goals, but only to be denied by the People’s Team goalkeeper, Tsepo Motsoeneng who denied them with some breath-taking saves on more than three occasions.
The home side made their intentions known within the opening two minutes when Anthony Laffor crossed for Atusaye Nyondo, but the dangerous Malawian forward who missed the club’s two matches due to an injury put his header wide of goal.
Young Matsatsantsa goalkeeper Ronwen Williams made a confident start, in his first genuine call to action, when in the 18th minute he punched away a Salmaan King swerving free kick.
Then after 24 minutes Santos ‘keeper Motsoeneng was called into action as the game started opening up. He did well to tip Anthony Laffor’s free kick around the post.
Two minutes later Motsoeneng, a former SuperSport player, had to tip a Nyondo shot over his bar as SuperSport piled on the pressure.
Santos spent much of the opening half keeping the home side out and only had a few rare chances at goal themselves.
The start of the second stanza was quite similar to the way the first half ended, with the likes of Laffor, Nyondo and Tebogo Langerman asking most of the questions.
Motsoeneng was called into action early in the second half and he ably took up the challenge, keeping the visiting Santos in the game.
But he could do nothing to stop Hartog from opening the score in the 57th minute, a goal the home side deserved following the relentless pressure they had put on Santos.
Nyondo made the assist and Hartog sweetly struck the ball with his right foot, putting it past Motsoeneng and into the top corner.
Santos got stuck in after the goal and did their best to get something out of the game, but the gap in quality was evident as the home side were the more composed team on the night.
Eleazar Rodgers came close with a last minute headed attempt, but it went straight into the arms of Ronwen Williams.
SuperSport United (0) 1 (Hartog 57’)
SuperSport: Williams – Moon, Gould, Booysen, Nkausu – Laffor (Nyanda 67’), September, Selolwane, Langerman – Hartog, Nyondo (Salmon 87’)
Santos: Motsoeneng – Macala, Ariweriyai, W Arendse, Jampies – T Arendse (Wana 81’), Barends (Kefile 74’), Chimodzi (Fransman 61’), King – Isaacs, Rodgers-Additional report by Backpagepix