Tue, 24 Nov 2020

As the 2020/2021 season got underway with the MTN8, Mamelodi Sundowns proved to be the big losers after an early exit at the hands of Bloemfontein Celtic in a 1-0 defeat at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday.

Both Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates got off to winning starts with hard-fought victories over Maritzburg United and Cape Town City.

They will be joined by defending champions SuperSport United and giant-killers Bloemfontein Celtic in the competition's semi-finals and move a step closer to the R8 million prize.

Here Sport24 reviews all the weekend's thrilling MTN8 action:

Biggest winners

- Kaizer Chiefs

Gavin Hunt would've been the most relieved person in the FNB Stadium after his side came from a goal down to beat Maritzburg United 2-1. Defender Yagan Sasman proved the hero by grabbing a brace and ensuring that Hunt started life at Kaizer Chiefs on an all-important winning note. With Hunt having had just over a week with his new team, Sunday's result was somewhat of a lottery which will make the relief that much more tangible. The positive result helps appease the club's demanding fan-base while creating a feel-good factor surrounding the new managerial appointment.

Gallo Images Muzi Ntombela

- Orlando Pirates

As with Kaizer Chiefs, the most important thing for the big boys this weekend, especially in a cup competition, was the result. Orlando Pirates and head coach Josef Zinnbauer will feel it was mission accomplished after a narrow 1-0 win over bogey team Cape Town City. The win gets their campaign off to a positive start and allows Zinnbauer to now focus on the start of the league campaign with renewed confidence.

Gallo Images Muzi Ntombela

- Bloemfontein Celtic

Head coach John Maduka and his Bloemfontein Celtic side are fast gaining a reputation as giant-killers and cup specialists. A Maduka tactical masterclass saw his team grab a 1-0 win over last season's treble winners, Mamelodi Sundowns. Celtic defeated Kaizer Chiefs in last season's title run-in and have now exacted revenge after losing out to Sundowns in last season's Nedbank Cup final. Siwelele will be aiming to go one better by lifting a trophy this season.

Gallo Images Samuel Shivambu

Biggest losers

- Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM)

TTM had a nightmare opening day to life in the top-flight of South African football on Saturday. They say bad things come in threes and this proved true again. First, Joel Masutha named just three substitutes on their bench after failing to register a number of new signings. Things went from bad to worse when TTM found themselves down by three goals after 33 minutes. Masutha, who was unveiled just two days before their MTN8 fixture, was forced to make an apology for the administrative mishap.

Gallo Images Samuel Shivambu

- Mamelodi Sundowns

The new-look managerial trio of joint-head coaches Manqoba Mngqithi and Rhulani Mokwena with Steve Komphela as an assistant got off to a tough start with a shock defeat to Bloemfontein Celtic. Football is a funny game and as all eight teams had minimal time to prepare ahead of this weekend the result becomes all the more important. Win, as Pirates and Chiefs did, and you're praised as a managerial genius. But lose and one ends up getting heavily criticised with every decision questioned. Sundowns' new-look managerial trio came in for much criticism after the defeat, especially in being outsmarted by counterpart Maduka.

Gallo Images Samuel Shivambu

- Fagrie Lakay

The attacker will know that he let his team down after being sent off for a reckless challenge. It proved a pivotal moment as CT City were knocked out of the tournament. Due to the current circumstances we find ourselves in and as a result many players lacking match sharpness, Lakay shouldn't be criticised too heavily. Instead, he should be shown further encouragement in what could prove to be an important season for the young striker.

Gallo Images

Best player

- Yagan Sasman

Everyone loves an underdog and the young defender has quite the remarkable story in a short space of time, going from being a prodigal youth player at Ikamva, to being released by Ajax Cape Town to now being a match-winner for the biggest club locally in Kaizer Chiefs. You could see the joy in the 24-year old's celebration and it was undoubtedly the moment of the weekend. Scoring the winner must have felt like a full-circle moment. If you love football and a good comeback story, no one personified that more than Sasman this weekend.

Gallo Images Muzi Ntombela

- Mogakolodi Ngele (special mention)

The left-footed midfielder formerly from Sundowns showed his exceptional quality to score a brace in a 3-2 defeat against former side SuperSport United. Ngele was the only positive in a horrid day for TTM by scoring a brace with the final score heavily flattering TTM. The 30-year old's first goal was a trademark strike as he whipped the ball nonchalantly into the top corner.

Best coach

- John Maduka

John Maduka wins this award by some margin after his tactical masterclass against Sundowns. He is fast carving out a name for himself as a promising head coach who possesses serious leadership qualities while being a gifted tactician.

Sport24 Frikkie Kapp

Best performance

Celtic again wins this after an exceptional display on Sunday. Something special is happening in this team where they seem to be a tightly-knit squad who play for each other. Under the guidance of Maduka, they could improve even further on last season's eight position and cause a few more surprises this season.

TeamTalk

Source: News24

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