Downs sneak into cup final
Mamelodi Sundowns are through to the final of the prestigious Nedbank Cup after narrowly beating AmaZulu 1-0 in a closely contested match at Olen Park Stadium in Potchefstroom yesterday.
Usuthu dominated the proceedings in the first half, enjoying ball possession and occasionally camping in their opponents' goal area.
They showed their intentions as early as the fifth minute when defender Jan Sillo beautifully controlled the ball a few metres from the Sundowns box and laid a pass for John "Shoes" Moshoeu but the latter was too late to guide the ball into the net with the Brazilians' goalkeeper Brian Baloyi at his mercy.
In the 28th minute Sundowns' Josta Dladla also missed a similar opportunity from Lerato Chabangu's cross.
Usuthu's Nigerian striker Mahomed Issah also fluffed a chance in the 38th minute with only Baloyi to beat.
The game itself was exciting, with both sides going out for goals.
Apart from the wet pitch, both sides fought hard, much to the delight of the fans, who came in large numbers to urge their idols on to victory.
While the Brazilians had most of the possession and good interchanges, AmaZulu's midfield was solid, thwarting most of their opponents' dangerous moves.
Sundowns' trio of Chabangu, Dladla and Surprise Moriri were monitored by AmaZulu's solid defence, who allowed them little room to move.
With the Durbanites in control, striker Mpho Maleka set up teammate Thabo Mabaso in the Brazilians' box but Shere Lekgothoane did well to stop the latter's attempt.
After recess Sundowns brought on Peter Ndlovu for Brent Carelse to strengthen their attack. This move seemed to change the complexion of the match as the Brazilians took control of the proceedings.
Maleka almost broke the deadlock in the 58th minute but his shot was saved by Baloyi.
In the 66th minute Sundowns got the important goal through Esrom Nyandoro after a pass from Moriri, with a thunderous shot, beating AmaZulu goalkeeper Kalilo Kakonje.