Mouthwatering MTN8 semis

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Cape Town City (Matthew Sim 7) 1 – 0 Kaizer Chiefs

Prediction: Cape Town City 1 – 2 Kaizer Chiefs

Amakhosi went to the Mother City at the back of a bad start to the season when they lost to Bidvest Wits in Milpark for the first time in more than a decade. That result highlighted Chiefs’ biggest problem from last season, they have been stripped of their aura of invincibility. Every team that comes up against them fancy their chance of adding to their woes.

The new side from Cape Town did that by knocking out last year’s finalists. They did that through team work, defending as a unit and quick in their attempts to hit Chiefs’ on a counter. If it wasn’t for Itumeleng Khune, the score-line could have been worse. Amakhosi lacked imagination, without any creative spark. The closest Chiefs’ had to a creative spark is Pule Ekstein, who couldn’t light up a petrol station.

Platinum Stars 0 – 2 Chippa United (Rhulani Manzini 9, Menzi Masuku 79)

Prediction: Platinum Stars 3 – 2 Chippa United

The Chilli Boys made Dikwena chase shadows in their own backyard. Their performance showed just why the Port Elizabeth side are the dark horse in the Absa Premiership race. Finishing in the top eight was already an achievement for them, having done so for the first time in the club’s history. But they didn’t stop there. They comfortably booked a place in the last four.

They made a Dikwena side, that’s tough to break down in Phokeng, look ordinary. The Chilli Boys made a mockery of the fact that they’re a team in a re-building phase after they lost their spine when Xola Mlambo, Eric Chipeta, Walter Maponyane and Nkosinathi Mthiyane left for greener pastures. Malesela has assembled a strong team of hungry players who are eager to make a name for themselves.

Bidvest Wits (Buhle Mkhwanazi 38, Thulani Hlatshwayo 75) 2 – 1 Orlando Pirates (Oupa Manyisa pen. 16)

Prediction: Bidvest Wits 0 – 2 Orlando Pirates

The Clever Boys beat the Soweto giants, Kaizer Chiefs and the Buccaneers, in a space of four days. While they outclassed Amakhosi, Wits were tactically superior over Pirates. They bombarded the side with set-pieces where their tall centrebacks, Thulani Hlatshwayo and Buhle Mkhwanazi, are a threat. The pair ended up on the scorer’s sheet, towering over Pirates’ defenders. But they also benefitted from the slippery hands of Felipe Ovono.

But those were “easy” games because the Clever Boys had nothing to lose. What will test them is how they play in matches where they’re favourites, starting against Cape Town City. Inconsistency, losing games that they shouldn’t, is what hurt Wits last season even though they pushed Sundowns to the end. If they’re to finish this season with silverware, for the first time since 2010, they need to change that.

Mamelodi Sundowns (Wayne Arendse 18, Sibusiso Vilakazi 74, Khama Billiat 80) 3 – 1 SuperSport United (Kingston Nkhatha 45)

Prediction: Mamelodi Sundowns 3 – 1 SuperSport United

From mind games, in the fight for who will sit on the bench on the right, to a brawl on the field and four goals – this match had all the ingredients of an entertaining derby. The Brazilians ended up on the winning side like they have been on many of these derbies. This match showed the bruises Sundowns have because of their African sojourn. Leonardo Castro, Tiyani Mabunda and Keagan Dolly didn’t finish the match through injuries.

But the club has depth in abundance. Percy Tau, Lucky Mohomi and Sibusiso Vilakazi took over and guided Sundowns to the finish line. Yanick Zakri is likely to take over from Castro in the semifinals with the Colombian doubtful to be fit in time. - Independent Media

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