Chelsea preparing new deals for academy graduates

Chelsea youngsters Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham are set to be offered new five-year contracts by Chelsea, according to reports.

The west London outfit are thought to be close to agreeing on a lucrative new deal with Callum Hudson-Odoi after months of negotiations and have now turned their attention towards extending the agreements of some of their other academy graduates.

Boss Frank Lampard has put his faith in youth this season, partly as a result of the Blues' transfer ban, and has been rewarded by a promising start to the campaign.

Abraham currently sits atop the Premier League goalscoring charts with seven to his name, notching his first hat-trick for the club in last Saturday's 5-2 win at Wolves.

The 21-year-old has quickly established himself as Lampard's first-choice striker, keeping Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi on the sidelines, and the club are reportedly in a rush to get his future sorted out.

Chelsea are keen to avoid another situation like the one they have found themselves in with Hudson-Odoi, who has been allowed to run down his contract, entering the last 12 months in June.

Bayern Munich have been strongly linked with the England international and while the Blues have now seemingly won the race to keep Hudson-Odoi, they don't want to take any risks with Abraham.

The Camberwell-born starlet's current contract still has a little under three years left to run but Chelsea are ready to extend it, alongside handing him a sizeable wage increase.

Tomori is also in line for a new deal with Lampard having got to know the defender well from their time together at Derby last season, the 21-year-old spending the campaign on loan with the Rams before returning to Stamford Bridge.

He opened his account for Chelsea at Wolves last weekend and looks set to feature regularly for Lampard's side this season, despite the presence of Kurt Zouma, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

Tomori's current contract runs until 2021 but the Guardian say he won't be allowed to get anywhere near the end of that deal if Chelsea have their way.

Neuer is Germany's 'number one' - Hoeness

Uli Hoeness says Manuel Neuer should remain Germany's first-choice keeper, while the Bayern president also hit out at Marc-Andre ter Stegen's recent comments.

In the past few days, there has been a verbal spat between Neuer and second choice Marc-Andre ter Stegen, with the Barcelona stopper expressing his frustration at a lack of opportunities for Die Mannschaft.

Ter Stegen said it was a "tough blow" to sit on the bench for both of Germany's recent Euro qualifiers but Neuer responded saying his outburst did not help the team.

The Barca man has seen his stock rise in recent seasons and he was the hero on Tuesday evening, saving a penalty from Marco Reus in their opening Champions League group game away at Borussia Dortmund.

However, Hoeness has called on the German FA (DFB) to issue their backing to the 33-year-old, who has now won 90 caps for his country after debuting a decade ago.

"The hierarchy has to be clear and say: Manuel Neuer is the number one," he said. "He has been the best goalkeeper in the world for many years.

"He was injured for a while, but it was clear that only he can be the number one when he returns to his old form. And he has now.

"It's not okay to allow a team-mate to go public on a topic he's only supposed to discuss with Jogi Low."

Neuer has figured in each of Germany's five Euro 2020 qualifiers so far, keeping three clean sheets.

Ter Stegen has sat on the bench for all those games and has only won 22 caps in his international career so far.

'We didn't really ever get going' - Zidane

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane has admitted Paris Saint-Germain showed more "intensity" and were "superior" in their Champions League clash on Wednesday.

The pressure is mounting on Zidane following an inconsistent start to the season, but he was offering no excuses after watching Los Blancos outplayed in the French capital.

To make matters worse for Real, it was former star Angel di Maria that did most of the damage with a brace of goals, while Thomas Meunier added a third in stoppage time.

PSG were also without Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Edinson Cavani, while Eden Hazard made his first start for Real, but it made no difference whatsoever.

Zidane was clearly disappointed with the defeat and manner of it, but says it is important they bounce back when they take on Sevilla in La Liga this weekend.

"We didn't really ever get going," Zidane revealed. "Here we are all in the same boat. When we win, we all win. When we lose, we all lose. This defeat is hard to take, but we have another game on Sunday [against Sevilla] and need to focus on that.

"They were superior to us in everything they did, and in intensity, which annoys me the most. They were good and created chances, but what worries me is that we played without intensity.

"We knew they'd pressure us. But we didn't really get properly into the game at any stage. Intensity is the most important thing on the pitch. You can have your worst game, but if you play with intensity, put your foot in, win challenges, you can win the game - but we didn't."

Sancho 'is an absolute weapon' - Hummels

Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels has lavished praise on teammate Jadon Sancho, saying he is good enough to play for 'just about any team in the world'.

Sancho has started the Bundesliga season with two goals and five assists in four games, as well as two goals for England against Kosovo.

The former Manchester City youngster has long been linked with United, with most reports suggesting that he will be a priority if they return to the Champions League.

Sancho would cost in excess of £100m if United - or any other club in Europe - tried to buy him next summer.

"I could imagine him in just about any team in the world," Hummels told German publication Bild.

"Although he's not mature yet, Jadon is already an outstanding footballer. His one-on-one, the pace. He loves to prepare goals.

"He is an absolute weapon that even has potential for improvement."

Liverpool must 'now focus on Chelsea' - Van Dijk

Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk has urged his team-mates to focus on bouncing back to winning ways when they travel to Chelsea on Sunday.

The Merseyside outfit had made the perfect start to 2019-20, winning all five of their Premier League games, however, that winning run was halted by Napoli on Tuesday.

Liverpool's Champions League bow didn't go according to plan as they went down 2-0 to the Italian side in Naples.

It's the first time that the winners of the competition have gone on to lose their opening game of the following campaign since AC Milan suffered that fate in 1994.

But Liverpool can't afford to wallow in defeat and they must be back at it for Sunday when they head to Premier League rivals Chelsea.

The trip to Stamford Bridge is undoubtedly their biggest test of the Premier League season to date after seeing off Norwich, Southampton, Arsenal, Burnley and Newcastle.

The Reds have already beaten Chelsea once this season, earning victory courtesy of a penalty shootout in the UEFA Super Cup, so the Blues are likely to be seeking revenge.

Last season saw Liverpool earn a 1-1 draw in west London but they haven't won at Chelsea since 2016, and will be under serious pressure as they look to stay at least five points clear of rivals Manchester City in the standings.

Van Dijk, who recently rubbished claims he's in talks over a new deal, accepts that their triumph in the Champions League last season has placed a target on Liverpool's back both domestically and on the European stage.

But the Dutchman, who gifted Napoli their second goal, insists they welcome that extra pressure and has called on the squad to refocus for this weekend.

Van Dijk said: "I think everyone wants to beat us no matter what competition. That's something we have to deal with but it's not going to be a problem at all.

"We have to enjoy that as well and I think for them to win their first game is obviously big. For us to lose our first game is obviously not what we wanted but the only thing we can do is try to win all the other games and now focus on Chelsea."

Vukusic confident of turning AmaZulu around

Having penned a three-year deal with the club on Wednesday, new AmaZulu head coach Jozef Vukusic is confident of improving the players at his disposal.

The 55-year-old replaced Cavin Johnson at the helm and will be assisted by Mabhuti Khenyeza, who was a member of the previous technical team.

The Slovak is a familiar face in South Africa after leading Polokwane City to a fifth-place finish in the league last season

"It is a good challenge to work in this league,” Vukusic told the official AmaZulu website.

“The target is to play attractive football. I am happy with the squad and players. I know the statistics have not been good and the target is to turn that around."

Usuthu haven't won a game all season and are bottom of the log, and Vukusic will face a tough ask in the opening weeks, with matches against Kaizer Chiefs, SuperSport United and Cape Town City on the horizon.

“I know the team from the outside but it’s important to learn about it from the inside,” Vukusic added.

“My work starts immediately. My hope is that every day, every session, the players improve and results will surely come."

Tinkler: No guarantees for Sundowns

Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler believes his side's upcoming Absa Premiership clash against Mamelodi Sundowns on Sunday will be a tricky encounter.

Sundowns are smarting from a defeat at the hands of SuperSport United in the MTN8 semi-final on Wednesday and will be keen to get back to winning ways.

The team of Choice, meanwhile are still without a win this season, but will welcome back Thamsanqa Sangweni and Miguel Timm for the game at Lucas Moripe Stadium.

“It’s a massive game against Mamelodi Sundowns and what we do know is that the players will be motivated,” Tinkler told the media during a press conference.

“It’s going to be a tough task against Sundowns but there are no guarantees in this league. Any team can beat any team and if we can put up a good performance on the day, we can go there and collect maximum points.

“Nothing stops us from achieving that in my opinion and that’s what we hope to achieve because obviously a win is very, very important for us right now moving. I’ve been very happy with what I’ve seen so far during the week."

The Brazilians are unbeaten in the league so far this season and the former South Africa international has showered the defending champions with praise.

“Sundowns have a big squad, they are a big club and extremely successful club both in the league and on the continent," Tinkler continued.

"So it’s going to be a tough task but like I said if we’ve got the right mindset and mentality nothing stops us from going there and getting the desired result.

"They have a lot of talent in their squad and we have to work extremely hard."

Manchester United v Astana

Manchester United will hand a start to Mason Greenwood on Thursday night as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer makes changes for the clash with Astana.

The Reds kick-off their Europa League campaign at Old Trafford and Solskjaer will take the opportunity to rotate his squad and give some of his youngsters and fringe players a chance.

One such player is 17-year-old Greenwood who has already made four substitute appearances in the Premier League this season and will get the nod tonight.

Solskjaer has been singing the praises of the youngster and believes he is destined for greatness. But at the same time, he is keen to take the pressure off.

"He's still very young. I remember the kid who just wanted to play with his mates in the under-18s," said Solskjaer. "Now he's knocking on the door and his appetite for football must be growing.

"I just don't want to put too much pressure on him. Mason's one of the best finishers I've seen and I've played with a few decent ones."

Elsewhere, England under-21 defender Axel Tuanzebe is also set to start along with goalkeeper Sergio Romero and midfielder Fred as Solskjaer shuffles his pack.

Daniel James will miss out after picking up a knock against Leicester at the weekend, and joins midfielder Paul Pogba, forward Anthony Martial and defender Luke Shaw on the injury list.

There is some better news regards midfielder Jesse Lingard, who has recovered from illness and is likely to be involved.

Solskjaer says he has no qualms whatsoever about putting his youngsters straight into a game like this, and believes he will learn a lot.

"If you don't throw them in, you don't know what you've got. I don't see any other way of doing this," he added. "I've always done it wherever I've been, that's my belief as a coach, to give a chance, an opportunity."

Eintracht Frankfurt v Arsenal

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has confirmed his decision to rest two key players ahead of Thursday's Europa League opener against Eintracht Frankfurt.

The Gunners face the German outfit in their opening Europa League group game, but there will be no place in the side for Mesut Ozil, after Emery opted to leave him at home, rather than take him as part of his squad.

Emery insists the 30-year-old needs rest despite playing just 71 minutes of football this season - having not featured until he started Sunday's 2-2 Premier League draw at Watford.

He missed the start of the campaign after the security threat and then through illness.

Ozil retired from international football with Germany last year amid controversy and, on what would have been his first return to play in the country, he would have no doubt been in for a hostile reception from a fervent Frankfurt crowd.

But instead Emery offered up the rather bizarre excuse that Ozil was instead being rested alongside Sokratis Papastathopoulos - who has played every minute of the opening five Premier League games of the season.

"We are playing now a lot of matches and I want to use different players and also can have some rotation in the first 11 and in the 19 players in the squad for tomorrow and Sokratis and Mesut they rest this match," he said.

"I prefer after the Sunday match to rest that match and to train and to be ready for Sunday."

Meanwhile, the Gunners will be without star forward Alexandre Lacazette, who has an ankle injury and has not made the trip either.

Full-backs Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney are back in training but the game comes too soon for them so they will both miss out.

There is better news for fit-again Rob Holding, who is in line for a first appearance for nine months after being included in Emery's squad.

Eintracht will be a tough test for the Gunners after they made the Europa League semi-finals last season.

They hope that Serbia winger Filip Kostic is fit after he missed Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Augsburg in the Bundesliga, while fellow Serb midfielder Mijat Gacinovic has recovered from a groin problem and should be fit enough to take his place in the side.

Scholes questions United's striker decision

Paul Scholes has admitted his surprise at Manchester United's decision not to bring in a replacement for Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku in the off-season.

United sold the striker to Inter Milan but chose not to pursue a replacement, leaving themselves with only Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford as senior strikers.

Solskjaer has repeatedly talked up Mason Greenwood, though the teenager is yet to actually score a goal for the club.

Scholes told talkSPORT: "That's the one thing that disappoints me.

"He [Solskjaer] obviously knew they were going to sell Lukaku at some point, but not to have a centre-forward lined up seems like a mistake to me.

"Whether they did, whether it dragged on too long from the club's point of view, I don't know.

"They're going into a season without a centre-forward when it's a club that is known for its attacking style and had probably four centre-forwards in its heyday.

"So to go in there with Rashford and Martial, who you're not quite sure if they're left-wingers or centre-forwards, we don't know. But I'm sure it'll get sorted."

Bafana drop one place on latest FIFA rankings

South Africa have dropped down one position on the latest FIFA world rankings, down to 71st globally.

Bafana rose to 70th following their quarter-final berth at the Africa Cup of Nations, but since they have not been in action since 25 July after their matches in the recent international break were cancelled, Saudi Arabia have overtaken South Africa.

Bafana will have an opportunity to rise in the rankings next month during the scheduled 2021 AFCON qualifiers between October 7-15.

South Africa have been drawn with Ghana, Sudan and the winner of the clash between Mauritius and Sao Tome in Group C.

At 20th on the rankings, Senegal remain Africa's top-ranked team while AFCON winners Algeria is at 38.

Belgium top the rankings ahead of France, Brazil, England and Portugal.

Ferdinand urges Kane to seek personal glory

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand says he would seek a move to a club challenging for trophies if he were in the shoes of Spurs striker Harry Kane.

The North London club are yet to win any silverware under Mauricio Pochettino since he took charge in 2014, with appearances in the final of last season's Champions League and in the League Cup in the 2014/15 campaign.

Speaking on BT Sport ahead of Tottenham's 2-2 draw with Olympiacos on Wednesday evening, former England international Ferdinand said that if it was him, personal desire for silverware would eventually take precedence over loyalty.

"If you look at it as if you're an individual, put yourself in like Harry Kane's shoes, you're saying 'I'm off'," the 40-year-old said "I've got to be honest with you, I'd be gone because I've not got time to hang around.

"I could get injured next season, I could lose form etc. I want to win now. I've given most of my career to this club and they haven't [won anything]'.

"Yeah, you go very close, you can keep going very close, they've been close a few times of winning the league and then obviously the Champions League. It's not enough.

"I can understand [Christian] Eriksen, you can understand Eriksen's frustrations and wanting to leave and saying 'I want to go somewhere and potentially win something', not be a maybe."

Spurs return to Premier League action at the weekend when they play Leicester City on Saturday.

Emery rests Sokratis and Ozil for Frankfurt clash

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has opted to rest Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Mesut Ozil for Thursday's Europa League clash with Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany.

Emery insists the 30-year-old Ozil needs rest despite playing just 71 minutes of football this season - having not featured until he started Sunday's 2-2 Premier League draw at Watford.

He missed the start of the campaign after the security threat and then through illness.

Ozil retired from international football with Germany last year amid controversy and, on what would have been his first return to play in the country, he would have no doubt been in for a hostile reception from a fervent Frankfurt crowd.

But instead Emery offered up the rather bizarre excuse that Ozil was instead being rested alongside Papastathopoulos - who has played every minute of the opening five Premier League games of the season.

"We are playing now a lot of matches and I want to use different players and also can have some rotation in the first 11 and in the 19 players in the squad for tomorrow and Sokratis and Mesut they rest this match," he said.

"I prefer after the Sunday match to rest that match and to train and to be ready for Sunday.

"Because we are going to play another match on Sunday. My decision is because he played and also I'm thinking tomorrow the focus and the first XI.

"After that I decided who are the players who can be the best for tomorrow and also the players not and that is Sokratis and Mesut.

"Really the first match he played on Sunday, he played well and was good physically - also giving us his capacity and skills and after his first minutes (of the season) it was good for us.

"Now he is ready to help us, not tomorrow but on Sunday - we are going to play another match and tomorrow we are thinking to do some rotation."

Pep hints at defensive rotation ahead of Watford test

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has hinted at a defensive reshuffle for Saturday's clash with Watford at the Etihad.

City kicked off their Champions League campaign with a comfortable 3-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine on Wednesday night, much to the delight of Guardiola.

Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan, and Gabriel Jesus were all on target during the Group C clash, but Guardiola says there is no time to celebrate with the Hornets on the horizon.

City need to bounce back in the Premier League following a shock defeat against Norwich last weekend, and Guardiola's focus is now on the weekend.

"I think already about Watford as we don't have much time, but to start away in the Champions League with a good result (is positive) and I know we played really good," he said.

"We created incredible chances and all the guys were fantastic. It's a good result to start - better than last season."

Fernandinho was not troubled in central defence as he stepped in for the injured John Stones and Aymeric Laporte, but Guardiola says he will have to look at other options going forward.

The Spanish tactician says he cannot expect the Brazilian and Nicolas Otamendi to play every game there and other options are needed.

Youngster Eric Garcia, who was on the bench last night is one, but the more experienced Kyle Walker and new signing Rodri could also play as makeshift centre-backs.

"I didn't have doubts he (Fernandinho) could do it and he's going to do it (again)," he added. "But Nico is 31, Fernandinho is 34, and next alternative is 18. For three or four months I don't know what will happen.

"Both were incredible tonight but we need another solution - Rodri or Kyle (Walker) maybe - because they cannot play every game at their age."

Sundowns provide update on injured quartet

Mamelodi Sundowns have provided an update on the progress of injured players Mauricio Affonso, Anthony Laffor, Emiliano Tade and Keletso Makgalwa.

Following Wednesday's defeat in the MTN8 semi-final to Tshwane derby rivals SuperSport United, Sundowns confirmed that Affonso and Laffor are still training on their own and haven't joined team sessions yet.

Tade underwent knee surgery and is busy with rehabilitation and will return at an unknown date while Makgalwa might be back before the end of the year.

“Laffor has been undergoing rehabilitation for his knee post his surgery and has started training on the field, but not with the rest of the team," Sundowns said on their official website.

"Affonso, who was the club’s first signing of the current season, is still yet to make his debut following an ankle injury and he, too, is training on his own for the moment.

“Tade is another player still yet to feature for Sundowns this season because of a knee injury. He is currently undergoing rehabilitation and has begun some gym work and hoping for a speedy recovery.

"Makgalwa will be on the sideline for quite a while still. He has begun rehabilitation in the gym and is expected to still be out of action for at least another three months."

Mosimane responds to Sirino incident

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane has had his say over an incident involving Gaston Sirino and SuperSport United pair Clayton Daniels and Dean Furman during the MTN8 semi-final.

The reigning Absa Premiership champions were knocked out of the competition - 3-1 on aggregate - following their 2-0 loss to their Tshwane derby rivals on Wednesday.

One of the biggest talking points of the game was the scuffle involving Sirino, particularly after replays showed the Downs midfielder placing his hands on both Matsatsantsa players.

While the Uruguayan received a yellow card for his infringement, Mosimane played down the incident, saying they are part of the game.

"But when you have Clayton [Daniels], you know [Gaston] Sirino has a small body. It's okay, it's part of the game we accept it, especially when you lose, you don't want to talk much about that because it looks like you're making excuses," Mosimane told SuperSport.

"We will just pick ourselves up and move on. We got bigger things to do. This one [MTN8 Cup] is eluding us as always, but it's okay."

Following Wednesday's defeat, Sundowns next take on Polokwane City in an Absa Premiership clash on Saturday.

City suffered a penalty shootout defeat to Highlands Park in the other MTN8 semi-final second leg on Tuesday.

 

Khumalo: SuperSport on the verge of something special

SuperSport United defender Bongani Khumalo believes the club could have a season to remember after they knocked Mamelodi Sundowns out of the MTN8 on Wednesday night.

With the score tied at 1-1 after the first leg, goals from Teboho Mokoena and Jamie Webber inspired Matsatsantsa to a 2-0 win on the night and a 3-1 aggregate win over the Absa Premiership champions.

The victory means SuperSport will be in their third successive MTN8 final, having beating Cape Town City in the 2017 final before losing to the same opponents last year.

Wednesday's result was the first time free-scoring Sundowns failed to find the back of the net this season, and the former Bafana Bafana captain is confident the club is on the verge of another successful period in their history.

"It's been a tough week, Saturday took a lot out of us. Cape Town City is a good team, they make you work and then you have another game where they make you work on the ball and off the ball," Khumalo told SuperSport after the game.

"Credit must go to the team, they were all warriors today. I feel inspired and renewed by this group.

"If we stick together and keep working hard we may achieve something special this season I believe.

"Coming to this club, I've heard of the culture, there's a camaraderie here and that's what you need to win things.

"Hopefully, now we can go all the way, finals are not about playing well, they're just for winning and we'll do our best."

SuperSport will take on Highlands Park in the final on 5 October at Orlando Stadium.

Spurs held by battling Olympiakos

Tottenham squandered a two-goal advantage as Olympiakos fought back to earn a 2-2 draw in their Champions League opener at Stadio Georgios Karaiskaki on Wednesday evening.

Mauricio Pochettino's men made a slow start in Athens, with the home side spurred on by their passionate fans.

Winger Daniel Podence had the first chance of the game, but the midfielder was too greedy when in at goal inside the eighth minute. The 23-year-old went on a lung-busting run, but he lost his balance on the edge of the box before producing a tame shot.

Striker Miguel Guerrero then had a great chance to score, but the striker was denied by the post. Podence played him in via a chest pass, but the upright saved Spurs on that occasion.

After being handed a lifeline, Spurs eventually found their rhythm, and they opened the scoring from the penalty spot.

Centre-back Yassine Meriah tried to bring Harry Kane down on two occasions, eventually upending him before the England captain fired the ball down the middle of the goal in the 26th minute.

Spurs then found themselves in dreamland as they doubled their advantage just four minutes later. Olympiakos allowed Ben Davies too much space, and he teed up Lucas Moura. The Brazilian took one touch, before smashing the ball past a helpless Jose Sa in the opposition goal.

The action did not stop there though, with Georgios Masouras wasting a golden opportunity as he volleyed over the bar with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.

Olympiakos eventually did find a goal through Podence, as he worked a perfect one-two with Mathieu Valbuena before firing into the bottom corner.

More drama was expected in the second half, and the two teams did not disappoint with Dele Alli seeing his goal ruled out for offside. That came after a matter of minutes, and Olympiakos soon found themselves level after Jan Vertonghen fouled Valbuena.

Former France forward Valbuena beat his former team-mate Lloris from the spot as the home crowd went wild in Athens.

Olympiakos soon tired as the half wore on, but Spurs had further chances through Alli and substitute Erik Lamela.

Spurs would have taken a point before kick-off, but Pochettino's men will need to learn from their mistakes if they want to reach the final once again.

Confident Citizens cruise past Shakhtar

Manchester City started their Champions League campaign with strong performance away from home, recording a convincing 3-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday night.

City dominated the opening exchanges without creating too many goalscoring opportunities, but that all changed on 24 minutes when Ilkay Gundogan's left-foot strike cannoned off the post and Riyad Mahrez was quickest to react to the rebound to make it 1-0.

That briefly sparked a reaction from the hosts and Junior Moraes really should have made it 1-1 when he was played through by Taison, but under pressure from Fernandinho, the forward could only fire into the chest of Ederson.

Moraes was made to pay for that miss, as minutes later City doubled their lead with the same two players that combined for the first goal linking up again, this time though it was Mahrez who teed up Gudogan for a close-range finish.

The second-half continued in the same manner, with City creating chances at will, as Raheem Sterling hit the outside of the post and Nicolas Otamnedi had an acrobatic effort ruled out for offside.

The Citizens did eventually get the third goal that their dominance deserved with 14 minutes remaining, as Kevin de Bruyne broke forward and assisted Gabriel Jesus, who provided a left-foot calm finish beyond the helpless Andriy Pyatov.

Sundowns 0-2 SuperSport (1-3 agg)

SuperSport United booked their place in the MTN8 final as goals on either side of the half-time break secured a 2-0 win and a 3-1 aggregate victory over Mamelodi Sundowns in Pretoria on Wednesday night.

With the match finely poised after a 1-1 draw in the semi-final first leg, it was Teboho Mokoena who opened the scoring in the 12th minute before Jamie Webber made sure of the result in the 85th minute.

The visitors scored with their first chance of note as some great work in the build up from Bradley Grobler and Thamsanqa Gabuza led to the latter playing the ball into the path of Mokoena, who duly obliged by firing home from inside a crowded box.

Gabuza very nearly bagged another assist on the 20-minute mark after squaring the ball to Grobler, but the in-form striker failed to get a touch and the danger passed.

Sundowns were struggling to stamp their mark on proceedings as an obstinate SuperSport defence carried out their job efficiently.

As a result, Downs resorted to trying their luck from range, with Hlompho Kekana testing SuperSport keeper Ronwen Williams in the 27th minute before firing wide of the mark in the closing stages of the half.

And it was more of the same after the break as SuperSport continued to pile on the pressure.

Sipho Mbule should have made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute but despite being unmarked in the area, he somehow failed to hit the target as his shot sailed over the bar.

The visitors again threatened to stretch further ahead as Grobler drew a save from Denis Onyango on 66 minutes before an unmarked Kudakwashe Mahachi fired wide on the volley.

There was little Sundowns could do to stop the relentless SuperSport attack, with Gamphani Lungu shooting straight into the grateful arms of Onyango in the 79th minute, while Mahachi again went close after firing into the side netting from a tight angle.

Matsatsantsa finally put the game to bed in the 85th minute as substitute Webber strode into the box before unleashing an angled shot into the bottom-left corner.

The result sees SuperSport book a date with Highlands Park at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday, 5 October.