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Sports & Off The Pitch
Apr 15 2012 5:57PM
United edge through to Cup semis
Thabiso Nkoana and Gladwin Shitolo during the 2012 Nedbank Cup Quarter Final match between SuperSport United and Jomo Cosmos from Peter Mokaba Stadium on April 15. Picture: Gallo Images
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A second half goal from Thabiso Nkoane helped SuperSport United edge past Jomo Cosmos, winning 1-0 in Polokwane on Sunday to book a place in the Nedbank Cup semi-finals.

The 56th minute strike from Nkoana aided the goal-shy Pretoria outfit to the last four draw on Monday morning.

United join neighbours Mamelodi Sundowns, Free State Stars and AmaZulu.

In an uneventful encounter at Peter Mokaba Stadium, 19-year-old Nkoana needed a spectacular finish to put away a bobbling ball inside the penalty area into the back of the net.

It was the youngster's first goal in the professional set-up.

Before that, Cosmos captain and goalkeeper Avril Phali kept the struggling outfit in the contest with some crucial saves that were, however, complimented by a blunt strike force in the other end.

United had the better chances in the fixture while their keeper Rowen Fernandez enjoyed a quiet afternoon.

Phali, his opposite number, was first kept busy in the 22nd minute as he pelted away a shot from midfielder Ishmael Maluleke in an uneventful first half.

Maluleke was guilty of abysmal finishing shortly before the break as his effort inside the box sailed wide of goal.

Phali was called to action again in the 53rd minute as he stopped an effort from Kermit Erasmus.

Moments later, he pulled off a spectacular save diving low down to deny a Nkoana header from a Tebogo Langerman cross on the left flank.

United took the lead three minutes later before they fashioned another through Mabhuti Khenyeza moments later, with the forward shooting over the bar.

Despite their still poor conversion rate, victory was still good enough for United coach Gavin Hunt.

"It was typically us. We can play for three days and not score," Hunt said after the match.

"But we have to keep soldiering on, in the end, I felt it was a justified result for us."

Cosmos, who are bottom in the Premiership, were poor in the encounter as they failed to display their usual fight.

While they were no threat going forward, they lacked creativity in midfield that saw them guilty of losing most of their ball in the final third of the field.

Their only meaningful chance of the game came midway through the first half.

A good passage of play saw Siyabonga Nhlapho ballooned his shot on the edge of the box after being supplied by Siyabonga Nontshinga.

"We didn't deserve to win today, we looked nervous," said Cosmos coach Jomo Sono.

"They could have been two goals up early from the mistakes that we made."

The struggling side will now focus on their dwindling league fortunes for the remainder of the campaign, which has six rounds of matches to be played. -Sapa 

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