THE weather may have been on the chilly side but the football was red hot on Day 5
of the 2012 Metropolitan Under-19 Premier Cup at Erica Park in Belhar today. As
the tournament approaches its final stages, the level of application and intensity
has increased accordingly, as could be witnessed from the four highly competitive
quarterfinals that took place.
Only Phillippi United, the tournament’s dark horses, managed to overcome their
opponents in relatively convincing fashion, notching up a 4-1 victory over
University of Pretoria, courtesy of a Baxolele Mshweshwe Hatrick and one from
Rodwill Bezuidenhout. Siseko Manona replied with a consolation goal for Tuks.
Santos joined their fellow Western Cape representatives in the last four but were
taken to the wire by Hanover Park in an epic clash that finished 2-2 after
regulation time. The People’s Team recovered from falling behind to a Carl Lark goal
to lead 2-1, through goals from Ryan Abrahams and Ganief Kerriem, only for Hanover
Park to fight back to take the game to extra time, thanks to a late equaliser from
Yaseen Ceres. The added 16 minutes failed to produce any further goals and it was
down to the lottery of penalties to decide who would go through. Santos held their
nerve better to prevail 4-3 to remain in contention for glory.
Stars of Africa Academy qualified for the semi-finals for the second successive
year, winning a hard-fought battle against Milano United, with Brandon Theron
netting the only goal of the match with barely four minutes left on the clock.
The last semi-final berth was secured by Orlando Pirates, who edged Mamelodi
Sundowns, 1-0. Buccaneers skipper Tsepo Liphoko’s speculative shot almost on the
stroke of halftime slipped through the hands of the Brazilians ‘keeper Xolani Ngcobo
proved to be decisive, with Downs’ luck deserting them as twice the ball rebounded
from the crossbar and away to safety.
“As we enter the business end of the tournament, we have seen how the quality of
play has increased as the stakes have been raised. This year has revealed the level
of improvement in local club football to a level where they compete on an equal
footing with the development structures of some of the biggest professional clubs in
the country,” said Metropolitan Retail CEO, Phillip Matlakala. “This serves to
reinforce Metropolitan’s faith in the benefits of investing in youth at grassroots
community level, such as the Premier Cup.”
The draw for the semi-finals pits Phillippi United against Stars of Africa, while
Pirates will face Santos in an all-PSL clash. The matches will be played
simultaneously at 09h00 on Monday.
In the Plate section semi-finals, Crusaders beat Mpumalanga Black Aces 3-0 and ASD
Cape Town Academy won 2-0 against Berea Albion, while in the Mid-section semis,
Hanover Park beat Tuks 1-0 and Mamelodi Sundowns outclassed Milano United 3-0.
The Plate section final between Crusaders and ASD takes place on Monday at 11am
followed by the Mid-section final between Hanover Park and Mamelodi Sundowns at
12.45pm. The grand final kicks off at 3.30pm