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Galaxy explode to historic milestone in elite league

Usuthu dominated the Rockets in first half

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Wayde Jooste of AmaZulu FC and Kganyane Letsoenyo of TS Galaxy FC during the Carling Knockout, semi-final match on Sunday
Wayde Jooste of AmaZulu FC and Kganyane Letsoenyo of TS Galaxy FC during the Carling Knockout, semi-final match on Sunday
Image: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart

TS Galaxy reached their first cup final as a top-flight side when they beat AmaZulu 3-2 in the Carling Knockout semifinals at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Sunday.

Galaxy, who won the Nedbank Cup when they were still a second-tier side in 2019, will face Stellenbosch in what will be both side’s maiden decider in the elite league at the same venue on December 16.

Samir Nurković’s brilliantly curled effort in stoppage time sealed the deal for the Rockets. The game had a dramatic ending as Galaxy keeper Fiecre Ntwari’s late mistake allowed Junior Dion to score a goal that made it 3-2 a few second after Nurkovic’s goal.

The first half was action filled, starting with Galaxy breaking the deadlock as early as the second minute via Lehlohonolo Mojela, who was brilliantly teed up by Mpho Mvelase to unleash a low-driven strike that beat AmaZulu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa at the far post.

Galaxy doubled their advantage courtesy of Higor Vidal’s penalty in the 26th minute, after Mothwa was adjudged to have brought down Mojela. The decision by referee Masixole Bambiso to award the Rockets this spot-kick was debatable as replays showed that contact between Mothwa and Mojela was minimal.

Despite scoring two goals inside the first 30 minutes, Galaxy were dominated by Usuthu in the first half and they had their shot-stopper Ntwari to thank as the Rwandan made at least four super saves, denying the likes of Hendrick Ekstein and Dion.

The second period didn’t produce as many scoring opportunities as the first but ended in a dramatic fashion. Galaxy started to sit back. As the game dragged on without finding solutions, frustrations built on Usuthu players. Taariq Fielies and Riaan Hanamub were seen shouting at each other in frustration.

Seeing that knocking it around wasn’t really producing anything, Usuthu started to play long balls and one of those saw them pull one back via second half substitute Augustine Kwem in the 76th minute. Kwem pounced on a loose ball after Ntwari miscalculated and failed to deal with Fielies’ cross. 

Missing their influential skipper Mlungisi Mbunjana through suspension, Galaxy deployed right-back Mvelase in the middle of the park with Mark Munyai being slotted at Mvelase’s usual right-back slot. Mvelase still put in a solid display in the engine room despite being unfamiliar with playing there.

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