August 12 2017– MARITZBURG United caused a huge upset as they edged out Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 in a MTN8 quarterfinal at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday afternoon. It was 0-0 at halftime.
The draw for the semifinals of the competition was made immediately after the match, with Cape Town City taking on Bidvest Wits and SuperSport United up against Maritzburg. It will be played over two legs, with the first leg scheduled for the weekend of August 26.
Sundowns and Maritzburg got Sunday’s game off to a pulsating opening period, demonstrating the intent that both teams were desperate for the win. Khama Billiat had the first opportunity for the Pretoria club, but his effort was well-saved by Maritzburg goalkeeper Bongani Mpandle.
Not to be undone, Maritzburg rattled back with a chance of their own, with Lebogang Maboe having two bites at the cherry, but Sundowns keeper Kennedy Mweene was up to the task.
With Percy Tau and Yannick Zakri starting to make their presence felt, Sundowns started to dominate proceedings, but Maritzburg’s defence got stuck in and they proved extremely difficult to break down.
More chances accrued, at both ends, with Maritzburg always dangerous on the break. Tebogo Langerman had an attempt stopped by Mpandle, while Maboe again went close for the team from Maritzburg.
The teams went into the break goalless and there was no difference in the complexion of the game when play resumed in the second half, with Sundowns trying to break down the opposition defence and Maritzburg, in turn, hitting on the counter.
Maritzburg’s determination was rewarded in the 58th minute when they took the lead with a fine finish from Evans Rusike.
This was the cue for Sundowns to throw everything at Maritzburg in a desperate attempt to get back on level terms. Tau, Thapelo Moreno and Billiat threw the kitchen sink at the opposition, but to no avail. Substitute Anthony Laffor had an opening to equalise for Sundowns, but was denied by a great block from defender Bevan Fransman.
It was all one-way traffic in the closing stages as Sundowns tried valiantly to find a way beyond Maritzburg’s resolute defence. But it was not to be and the team from KwaZulu-Natal won through to the semi-finals. – ANA