Saturday Apr 30, 2022. 22:11
Mamelodi Sundowns kept their treble dream alive as they reached the Nedbank Cup final following a 2-1 victory over Royal AM at Chatsworth Stadium on Saturday evening.
After a goalless first half, Aubrey Modiba gave the newly-crowned DStv Premiership champions the lead on 62 minutes before Thabo Matlaba equalised for Thwihli Thwahla 10 minutes later.
But Pavol Safranko put the Brazilians back in front 14 minutes from time to set up a final date with last season’s winners Marumo Gallants, who beat University of Pretoria in their semi-final on Friday.
The cup-tie got off to a tense start as the two teams looked to spray the ball around in an attempt to stamp their authority on proceedings.
The crowd had to wait until the 14th minute for the piece of goalmouth action as Siphesihle Msomi lined up a shot from long range that drew a routine save out of Denis Onyango.
That was the only effort on target in the first half, with Neo Maema and Peter Shalulile failing to test Patrick Nyame with their respective strikes from inside the box for Masandawana, while Victor Letsoalo steered a header wide of the right post from a free-kick for Royal AM in the closing stages.
The second half was a more lively affair as Surprise Ralani threatened to break the deadlock with a shot from inside the area that flew to the right of the upright in the 56th minute and Sundowns hit the front from their next attack six minutes later.
Nyame had no answer as Modiba curled a free-kick beyond the keeper’s reach to send the Yellow Nation into ecstasy, but they were soon silenced when Matlaba hit back for John Maduka’s side with a strike from inside the box that nestled into the bottom left corner of the net from Kabelo Mahlasela’s pass.
Parity lasted just four minutes though, after Shalulile pressured Nyame into a mistake and presented Safranko with the simplest of tap-ins from close range to restore Downs’ lead.
The KZN outfit looked for another swift response, but Onyango was alert to the danger as he kept out a free-kick from Mfundo Thikazi in the 79th minute to preserve Sundowns’ treble hopes.
Royal AM (0) 1 (Matlaba 72′)
Mamelodi Sundowns (0) 2 (Modiba 62′, Safranko 76′)
Royal AM: P. Nyame, Z. Mkhize (S. George 88′), L. Manganyi, M. Rikhotso, S. Mabuza, T. Matlaba, M. Mogaila (T. Potsane 66′), K. Mahlasela, S. Msomi (N. Mabena 82′), V. Letsoalo (M. Thikazi 67′), M. Macuphu.
Mamelodi Sundowns: D. Onyango, K. Mudau, G. Kekana, B. Onyango (D. Lunga 39′), A. Modiba, S. Ralani (T. Zwane 64′), A. Jali, N. Maema (L. Lakay 81′), P. Safranko (G. Sirino 81′), P. Shalulile, L. Maboe.