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Telkom Cup derbies to ignite sparks!

“The game will be won by the team that will convert chances created,” Larsen said on Thursday.

“We are a team that creates chances but have been letting ourselves down by not converting those chances.

“We have to be at our best for the match against Stars. They are a quality team and have a quality coach in Steve Komphela.”

Larsen said his players were fired up for the derby clash as they continue the search for their first trophy in seven years.

“Everybody is looking forward to the game. It’s a big game for the club,” he said.

“We are expecting a tough game but we are confident if we come to the party we can advance to the final.”

Larsen admitted his team’s away form had been poor in the league, but he insisted it was not a major concern, with Stars hosting them for the penultimate round of the cup competition.

Celtic beat Chippa United 2-1 in Cape Town in the first round.

“I would have been overly concerned if we played away poorly, not creating and converting chances,” he said.

“In all our away games, including the win against Chippa in the cup, we totally dominated the game.

“I think we are due for an away win against Stars.”

Meanwhile, Pretoria’s under-achieving clubs, SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns, will attempt to atone for a poor start to the league season with success in tomorrow’s Telkom Knockout semifinal at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.

Trophy machines SuperSport and the country’s richest club, Sundowns, are in the bottom half of the Absa Premiership at the one-third stage, and will hope cup success can reignite their league campaigns.

For SuperSport, league champions between 2008 and 2010 and last season’s Nedbank Cup winners, there has been the consolation of reaching two cup finals in succession. Matsatsantsa followed their 2-0 Nedbank triumph over Sundowns in May with a 2-1 defeat to Moroka Swallows in the final of this season’s MTN8.

But coach Gavin Hunt says he would have preferred league success.

“We’re very disappointed with our league form,” the coach admitted. “We’ve had eight draws out of the first 10 games. (Sundowns counterpart) Johan (Neeskens) will tell you that from losses to draws and draws to wins is a very fine line.

“We could have won a few of them certainly, and been right up there. But we seem to produce in the cups recently and that’s a little bit frustrating for me, because I don’t want to become like that.”

SuperSport defender Thabo September conceded it’s been a frustration for the players to have lost just one league game and still be in a lowly 11th place in the league.

“After a game we have so many regrets at the points we’ve missed and we hope to put that behind us and get some points, or progress to the next round if it’s a cup,” he said.

September said the fact that tomorrow night’s semi is a derby adds some needle to the game. It’s been an even worse start for Sundowns, who find themselves in last place for the first time ever in the PSL era, making Neeskens perhaps the most desperate coach in the league for a trophy. At the start of the season the former Dutch great said he would resign if his side goes trophyless again, as they did in his first season in 2011-12, and the Telkom is his second-last chance for silverware.

“When you are coach of a big club like Sundowns, Chiefs or Pirates, you want to win as many trophies as you can. But things are not going well in the league, as we know,” Neeskens said.

“But you still have a chance to win something. Right now that is the Telkom and if you’ve gone as far as the last four then you have a real chance.”

For SuperSport, the form of winger Kermit Erasmus, who scored a cracker in their 2-1 defeat to Kaizer Chiefs in Polokwane last weekend, may be crucial.

 

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