Nedbank Cup Quarter-Final Preview




The Nedbank Cup reaches its quarter-final stage this weekend with some exciting clashes lined-up. With Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates crashing out in the last 16, league champions Mamelodi Sundowns will be looking to make no mistakes when they travel to play Mpumalanga Black Aces on Sunday. The most competitive fixture will see Ajax Cape Town and BidVest Wits clash in the opening act on Friday night, while NFD leaders Golden Arrows will look to take down another Premier League team when they travel to Pretoia to play SuperSport United. Black Leopards, who caused the shock of the tournament by knocking out Kaizer Chiefs, would have been happy to be matched against fellow NFD outfit Vasco Da Gama.   

Friday

Ajax Cape Town 13/10 | Draw 21/10 | Bidvest Wits 2/1 
Arguably the biggest game of the last eight sees sixth place Ajax Cape Town take on fourth place Bidvest Wits in one of only two all Premier League ties. Ajax coach Roger de Sa will be hoping to get one over his former team who were beaten by Orlando Pirates in last year’s final. Wits managed a 4-2 victory at home over the Urban Warriors in the sides’ last clash. However, the Capetonians also won their home league fixture against the Clever Boys this season, 3-1. Both sides are coming off disappointing league games. Ajax were beaten 2-1 away to Platinum Stars while Wits could only manage a point away to Polokwane after losing their two previous meetings to Bloemfontein Celtic and AmaZulu. The Urban Warriors were in better form heading into their last match with three consecutive wins against SuperSport, Black Aces and Bloem Celtic in the last 16 of the Nedbank Cup. They also thumped fourth tier side Mainstay United 9-0 in the last 32 of the tournament. Wits earned their spot in the quarter-finals with a 3-0 home win over University of Pretoria but were held to a draw against Free State Stars in the previous round, triumphing in penalties. Home advantage has been the key for both these sides staying in the top six for most of the season so I don’t see Ajax losing here. However, Wits have a strong backline and the draw looks a likely outcome.  

Saturday

Black Leopards 13/20 | Draw 24/10 | Vasco Da Gama 42/10
Following a shock victory over Kaizer Chiefs, Zeca Marques and his Black Leopards charges will look forward to having a go at NFD rivals, Vasco Da Gama. Leopards’ excellent form since the arrival of their new coach sees them up in fourth spot while their Cape rivals’ poor form has dropped them down to 11th on the NFD standings. Leopards are unbeaten in their last 11 matches in all competitions, drawing just once. They beat sixth place NFD side FC Cape Town 6-2 in their first Nedbank Cup fixture before that memorable 2-1 win over Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium. Vasco were made to fight hard in the last 32 after being pushed to extra-time by third tier side Winners Park. They were then handed another fortuitous draw against rock bottom of the NFD, Maluti, whom they thrashed 3-0 at home. Lidoda Duvha have beaten Vasco in both league meetings this season and are also unbeaten against them having won six times and drawing only once. The home win is tipped.

SuperSport United 4/10 | Draw 29/10 | Golden Arrows 7/1
Gordon Igesund’s SuperSport United will go up against Shaun Bartlett’s table topping Golden Arrows on Saturday evening. SuperSport have faired well in the Nedbank Cup thus far beating Polokwane 4-1 at home in the round of 32 and then ousting Nedbank champions  Orlando Pirates 1-0 in Orlando the last 16. Golden Arrows started their Nedbank Cup with a 2-1 derby win over AmaZulu in the last 32 and then went on to earn a spot in the quarter-finals by beating Natal United 1-0. Veteran striker Mabhuti Khenyeza found the back of the net in both those matches and will be looking to upstage Jeremy Brockie who has taken the South African soccer scene by storm since signing for Matsatsantsa. The New Zealand international scored the only goal of the game in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Maritzburg United, taking his tally for SuperSport to six goals from nine matches since January. Golden Arrows are in line for promotion thanks to their superb defensive game. They have won only 12 of their 23 matches in the NFD this season, but have lost just twice. However, SuperSport have home advantage here and a striker who fired them past Orlando Pirates in the last 16. SuperSport should do enough to claim the win.

Sunday

Black Aces 4/1| Draw 23/10 | Mamelodi Sundowns 7/10
Tournament favourites Mamelodi Sundowns are in search of silverware after crashing out of the CAF Champions League to TP Mazembe last weekend. They are away to Mpumalanga Black Aces whom they have beaten six times and lost to only once in eight meetings. These sides will also meet at this same venue, Mbombela Stadium, just five days prior in the league. The Brazilians booked a place in the quarter-finals of the Nedbank Cup with a 3-1 win over Platinum Stars at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium while Black Aces scraped a 1-0 home win over NFD outfit Jomo Cosmos. Three exceptional goals from Mzikayise Mashaba, Khama Billiat and Hlompho Kekana saw Downs end their cup jinx against Dikwena and avoid the fate suffered by fellow ‘Big Three’ sides Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, who were both eliminated on Saturday. It’s unlikely that we see none of the country’s giants in the semi-finals and I’m backing Pitso Mosimane’s men to claim the win comfortably.  

All betting is forecast for 90 minute markets. 

Written by Wayde Dorkin
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Soccer Pro’s Picks
Ajax DRAW 21/10
Black Leopards WIN 13/20
SuperSport WIN 4/10
Sundowns WIN 7/10