- Friday, 09 March 2012
- Written by Modou Lamin Beyai
Gambia international Pa Dembo Touray and his Cape-Town based club Santos moved into the Nedbank Cup last 16 with a hard-fought, but ultimately fairly comfortable 1-0 win over First Division side University of Pretoria at a windy Athlone Stadium on Wednesday night.
With the exception of a 15-minute second-half period, Duncan Crowie’s team were not overly stretched at the back. Santos started the game with several changes to their usual starting line-up. Erwin Isaacs was missing through flu, while Eleazar Rodgers was left on the bench. Peter Mponda made a long-awaited return from injury and there was a first start for Gert Schalkwyk.
The game started off evenly balanced with little to suggest that the sides were from different leagues. Tuks held their own in the midfield, though they struggled to create any openings up front.
The initial stages were scrappy as both sides gave away regular possession, though Santos did manage to create two chances in the opening 20 minutes as Schalkwyk misfired with a back post volley and then Wayne Arendse headed over from close range.
The Premiership side needed a goal to stamp their authority and it duly came after 23 minutes when Tyren Arendse scored with a free kick, the ball dipping from an awkward angle to catch out Tuks’ keeper Tristyn Coetsee at the far post.
The Pretoria side’s first chance on goal came in the 33rd minute when a mistake from Mponda let in Aubrey Mgoma, but his angled drive was well saved by Pa Demba Touray.
Five minutes before the break saw the Peoples’ Team again close to scoring, but Matthew Pattiso’s shot from a tight angle was cleared off the line at the near post. The game completely turned around after the break as Tuks came out firing hard, putting the Cape side under some major pressure.
Esau Mtsweni had two early chances, both from tight angles, which the giant Pa Dembo dealt with fairly comfortably. But after 53 minutes the Gabon international only just avoided being caught out as he scrambled back to tip Mtsweni’s header over the bar, following that up with a block from Mpho Matsi’s 25m pile-driver.
Pa Dembo was busy again shortly thereafter as the visitors continued to press forward, but he was able to maintain his composure and keep the Cape Town side in front and see them safely into the last 16.
Despite visibly tiring, the Gauteng side were able to mount a bit of late pressure, nothing however, which the Santos defence was not able to deal with as they held on to their lead.