Maritzburg book Nedbank Cup final spot

Maritzburrg United thrashed Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 in the Nedbank Cup semifinal match at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The win sees the Team of Choice reach the final of the Nedbank Cup for the first time, while the Brazilians are eliminated from the tournament.

The visitors got off to a perfect start as they broke the deadlock just two minutes into the match through Gaston Sirino, who opened his scoring account at Sundowns.

The Uruguayan forward Gaston Sirino benefited from Maritzburg goalkeeper Richard Ofori's mistake as he let a tame shot trickle through his grasp.

The goal did not unsettle the Maritzburg defence as they managed to contain pacey attackers Percy Tau and Sirino.

The Team of Choice were awarded a free-kick in a promising area in the 22nd minute and Bevan Fransman fired over the crossbar from the set-piece.

The Brazilians looked dangerous each time they pushed forward and Tau's effort was brilliantly blocked by Pogiso Sanoka from close range just before the half-hour mark.

Themba Zwane then tried to play a through pass for Tau, but Ghana international Ofori came out and snatched the ball away, before the Sundowns attacker could make contact with the ball.

It was end-to-end stuff towards the halftime break as Themba Zwane set-up Sibusiso Vilakazi, whose effort was brilliantly saved by Ofori.

Almost immediately at the other end, Maritzburg levelled matters when Fortune Makaringe combined with Lebohang Maboe, who then fired past Sundowns keeper Denis Onyango to make it 1-1 in the 43rd minute.

As a result, the score was 1-1 at the interval between Maritzburg and Sundowns following a lively first-half.

Sundowns suffered a blow after the restart as injured Anele Ngcongca was replaced by Thapelo Morena as coach Pitso Mosimane made his first change.

However, the Brazilians dominated possession and they nearly scored when Sirino found Tau, whose effort was blocked and Ofori collected with ease just before the hour-mark.

The visitors continued to pile pressure on the Team of Choice defence and in the 70th minute Sirino forced Ofori into a great diving save with a long range shot.

Sirino, who had been one of Sundowns' best players on the day, was then sent off after receiving his second yellow card after pushing Bandile Shandu and the visitors were reduced to 10 men.

Mosimane's men continued to attack despite their numerical disadvantage and Mosimane introduced attack-minded forward Keletso Makgalwa with eight minutes left.

However, Sundowns were left vulnerable at the back and they were punished by super-sub Mxolisi Kunene, who beat Onyango with a left-footed shot to make it 2-1 to Maritzburg in the 86th minute.

The hosts then sealed their 3-1 victory in stoppage time when Makaringe fired past Uganda international Onyango with a powerful low shot and Maritzburg emerged victorious on the day.

Maritzburg (1) 3 (Maboe 44', Kunene 86', Makaringe 90'+1)

Sundowns (1) 1 (Sirino 2')

Maritzburg: Ofori, Sanoka, Fransman, De Reuck, Xulu, Makaringe, Shandu, Maboe, Ndlovu, Fileccia (Mokate 89'), Mekoa, (Kunene 77').

Sundowns: Onyango, Ngcongca (Morena 57'), Langerman, Arendse, Nascimento, Mabunda, Sirino, Manyisa, Vilakazi (Makgalwa 82'), Zwane, Tau (Brockie 89').