Downs book Nedbank Cup final berth

Frederic Nsabiyumva

A stunning long range effort from Mzikayise Mashaba secured a 1-0 win for Mamelodi Sundowns over National First Division side Vasco da Gama at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Sunday afternoon.

The Brazilians were below par, but still managed to get the job done with Mashaba's goal just before the hour mark enough to set-up a final clash with Ajax Cape Town.

Mashaba's effort just before the hour was the hosts first shot of the game.

The opening exchanges were rather dull with both teams sussing each other out, knowing a place in next month's showpiece was on the line.

Vasco were impressive in defence and it was the Cape side who dominated the first stanza with Ndiviwe Mdabuka forcing Kennedy Mweene into a good save in the 15th minute.

The Sundowns defence were guilty of offering the midfielder a pocket of space following good work from Samuel Julies and Mdabuka almost punished 'Downs, but the Zambia stopper was up to the task.

Vasco continued to frustrate the Absa Premiership giants with captain Nathan Gertse organising his troops and keeping the likes of Cuthbert Malajila and Khama Billiat quiet.

Jonathan Armogam went close for the visitors in the 37th minute and probably should've given Tony de Nobrega side's the lead. The Vasco striker ghosted into the Brazilians area following a flick on from Aleni Lebyane, but was unable to hit the target with his chip shot.

Lebyane himself tested Mweene on the cusp of halftime. More poor defending by the hosts let in the former Free State Stars man who tried to curl his effort into the corner, but Mweene was quick to shift to his right to make a comfortable stop.

After seeing Samuel Julies powering his free-kick attempt into the 'Downs wall from the edge of the area soon after the break, Mosimane introduced Anthony Laffor as the hosts looked to turn things in their favour.

Vasco continued to create the better of the chances though and Armogam was again guilty of squandering a glorious chance for the Parow based club with 56 minutes on the clock.

A mistake from Mweene let in the Vasco striker who had just a defender on the line to beat, but somehow the former Santos attacker blazed his effort wide of goal.

Vasco were made to rue their missed chances as 'Downs opened the scoring with what was their first shot of the game in the 59th minute.

Hlompho Kekana picked out Mashaba who controlled before directing an unstoppable left-footed shot from range passed a helpless Steven Hoffman in the Vasco goal.

Mashaba had a chance for his brace in the 81st minute after being sent through on goal by a superb pass from Khama Billiat, but the utility player stumbled with the goal at his mercy.

'Downs sat back in the closing exchanges and successfully held on to their lead to set-up an appetizing clash against the Urban Warriors who beat SuperSport United in the first semifinal.

Mamelodi Sundowns (0) 1 (Mashaba 59')

Vasco da Gama (0) 0

Sundowns: Mweene; S.Zwane, Schut (Nthethe 80'), Mphahlele, Langerman, Mbatha (Laffor 51'), Kekana, Modise, Mashaba, Billiat, Malajila (Zungu 61')

Vasco: Hoffman; Shellar, Gertse, de Goede, Mxoyana, Karkee, Armogam (Mthembu 72'), Wambi, Mdabuka, Julies (Muishond 80'), Lebyane (Smith 78')