Mark Gleeson, At Lucas Moripe Stadium | 2017-05-12 21:53:21.0
SuperSport United players celebrate with teammate Keegan Ritchie (L) after he scored during the CAF Confederations Cup match against Horoya from Guinea at Lucas Moripe Stadium on May 12, 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Image by: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images
SuperSport United were held at home in their opening African Confederation Cup group phase tie on Friday after twice having to come back against unfancied Horoya of Guinea at a near-empty Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville.
Thuso Phala missed a glorious chance at the end of the game to win it for Stuart Baxter’s team but the 2-2 draw must be seen as an early blow to their hopes in the competition.
Phala had come on to equalise for SuperSport with just eight minutes remaining and they did press in the final stages in search of an equaliser but failed to achieve the convention wisdom of all African club competition – “win your home games” – and will see the result as two potentially precious points squandered.
But whether SuperSport have made this competition a priority is unclear.
Still chasing a Nedbank Cup final place, they fielded just four regulars in their starting line-up and their rusty defence proved costly as errors allowed Horoya to twice go ahead, first through Jean Francis Ebele in the first half and then Ghanaian import Sebe Baffour Kyei early in the second half.
SuperSport’s first half equaliser was a superb curling left-footed free kick from Keegan Ritchie, a reminder of his early career days with Moroka Swallows when he was often deadly from set pieces.
It was a slow start for the home side who failed to make any incisions into the Horoya defensive zone in the first half hour, only having one real chance when a sloppy pass from Horoya midfield gifted Fagrie Lakay a chance to run at the opposing defence and shoot, which he did but with the resultant effort slicing off the side of his boot in the 11th minute.
Horoya had their first shot at goal in the 33rd minute when Cameroonian import hit tamely but the ball was spilled by Boalefa Pule, the third choice keeper for SuperSport given a chance to play ahead of both Reyaad Pieterse and Ronwen Williams.
From a result throw in, the SuperSport defence let the ball bounce and Ebele stole in to head home for the lead which lasted seven minutes before Ritchie’s response.
Backing off the Horoya attack allowed Baffor to slam home from outside the area to make it 2-1 in the 51st minute before Phala equalised with a fine side footed finished after a defence splitting pass from Reneilwe Letsholonyane and a clever dummy touch from Jeremy Brockie, brought on near the end to tr yand win it for the home side.
The other opening round match in Group D is on Sunday when holders TP Mazembe Englebert of the Democratic Republic of Congo host CF Mounana from Gabon.
– TMG Digital/TMG Sport