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Dutch goalkeeper stars as coach McCarthy wins first trophy

Johannesburg (AFP) – Penalty shootout heroics from Dutch goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh ensured UEFA Champions League winner Benni McCarthy won his first South African trophy as a coach Saturday.

McCarthy’s Cape Town City dominated Supersports in an MTN8 final in Indian Ocean city Durban that ended 0-0 after extra time.

Leeuwenburgh then saved two shootout kicks to help his club win 4-1 on penalties. 

The 24-year-old Dutch shot-stopper, who moved to South Africa this year from Ajax Amsterdam reserves, also saved two shootout kicks in a semi-finals victory over Mamelodi Sundowns.

“I am so happy because my family and girlfriend were able to watch the match in the Netherlands,” said Leeuwenburgh.

“My confidence was high ahead of the shootout — I did my homework and knew where the SuperSport players like to place their kicks.

“The match should not have gone to penalties, though, as we could have wrapped it up by half-time during the 90 minutes.”

Success was particularly sweet for Cape Town as they lost 4-2 on penalties to SuperSport in the final of the same competition last year.

McCarthy, who helped Jose Mourinho-managed Porto win the 2004 Champions League and scored a record 31 goals for South Africa, admitted he feared the worst as the shootout began.

“I thought to myself: here we go again, it is going to be a repeat of last year when we dominated SuperSport and they won on penalties.

“Our dominance this year was much greater, but we could not find a way past (SuperSport goalkeeper) Ronwen Williams.

“Peter (Leeuwenburgh) made the difference. He is a quality goalkeeper and I believed he was capable of making a couple of shootout saves.”

City chairman John Comitis said the triumph justified placing then 39-year-old McCarthy in charge last season even though he had no head coach experience.  

Cape Town pair Thabo Nodada and Gift Links were foiled by the woodwork in a match City should have wrapped up by the end of regular time against disappointing SuperSport.

The MTN8 is contested by the top eight league finishers from the previous season and offers an eight million rand ($565,000/485,000 euros) winners-take-all prize.

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