28: MTN 8 Cup Final

10 October 2017
Tembisa, South Africa

It’s finals time in the MTN 8 Cup. Jomo Cosmos take on Mamelodi Sundowns at FNB Stadium. This promises to be a tough match and will be a matchup worthy of a final.

Pre-game Scouting

2017-0125

Sundowns have been prolific scorers this season and they seem to be scoring throughout the match. Defensively they seem to get stronger the longer the game goes on, so we have to take the lead early on if we can.

2017-0126

Last time out this is how they lined up. Interestingly their top goal scorer Mbuyi Mthembu did not feature in their last match. Watching their past few games the seem to look to pass the ball into the box from wide out. The do look vulnerable to wide attacks themselves however.

Selection Considerations

Midfield Options

I effectively have three midfield players vying for the two starting slots in the midfield.

2017-0127

In the more advanced position it is between Duarte and Makaringe. Duarte is the better choice defensively, plus he is the better passer. Makaringe has been scoring more goals despit being second best in the finishing stakes.

2017-0128

At the back, Duarte looks better mentally and would be a definite starter were he not needed elsewhere. Tseka has been averaging above 7.10, while the other two are only averaging 6.80.

Deep Lying Forward

2017-0129

Ralebakeng is my Captain and so must start. he gets the nod over young Majola due to his industry, decisions and workrate. All atributes that are needed in the role.

Inside Forward

2017-0130

Majola is a young talent who is being groomed as a striker. However he may start this match as Inside Forward due to his superior finishing skills. Makhathini has been starting most this season, but has been struggling to complete matches due to knocks in the game. At the end of the day, Majola’s superior finishing may be the deciding factor,

Match Day

Sundowns have had the edge over us in the past. That counts for nothing in the final however!

2017-0131

Nice conditions and a near capacity crowd in for the final! Looking around the stadium it is filled to the brim and the atmosphere is electric.

2017-0132

Lineups

In the end I decided that a final is not the time to try something new. So I went with my possession based tactic. Lubasa got the nod at centre back due to his recent form.

2017-0133A

No real surprises here. The man to watch out for is Simfukwe, who is by far their teams best scorer in the league.

2017-0134

We are slight underdogs, but only slightly. This will be a good old fashioned scrap!

The Match

2017-0135

The first half was a tense affair, and we went into the break slightly ahead statistically. Both sides had chances but neither had anything to show for them.

2017-0136

The second half was mostly one way traffic as we took the lead almost immediately through a fine Radzi goal. Sadly injury spoiled the contest as first Leepile Khoza and then Nino Pitcock were forced off. A goal by Makaringe was soon cancelled out by Hadebe’s header. The two goal cushon was restored by Radzi’s second goal in the 83rd minute to see us home with a 3-1 win.

2017-0137

Radzi picked up a well deserved player of the match award. We managed to deny Simfukwe chances which was very pleasing.

Final Word

2017-0138

Mission one for the season has been accomplished! Next up is the Telkom Cup before we attack the continental competetions.

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MrBadDragon

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