United end Stars’ cup treble dream

Maritzburg United rode their luck but emerged 3-1 winners in a penalty shoot-out to knock Platinum Stars out of the Nedbank Cup competition in the last 16 on Saturday.

The match at the Moruleng Stadium ended 1-1 after extra-time, but the KwaZulu-Natal side were the more composed in the shoot-out as they ran out winners.

Henrico Botes, Solomon Mathe and Sibusiso Msomi all missed their spot-kicks as United booked a place in the quarterfinals.

Stars had taken the lead just before halftime when Issa Sarr netted his first goal for the club, but Namibian international Heinrich Isaacks equalized shortly after the break.

Stars were still without the injured Malawian international Robert Ng’ambi, who has been a regular scorer in cup competitions this season, while Siphelele Mthembu was preferred up front as the lone striker.

United had the first real chance of the game when Isaacks set Orlando Smeekes free on the edge of the area, but his placed shot across goal came back off the post and Nhalanhla Vilakazi’s follow-up shot was well saved by Siyabonga Mpontshane in the home goal.

It looked as though the teams would head to the break goalless after a tight opening period, but the home side did grab the opener on 44 minutes.

After Tintswalo Tshabalala had been fouled by Vilakazi, Mogakolodi Ngele’s free-kick was met by the head of Sarr and his powerful effort lodged in the corner of the goal.

Maritzburg had conceded that set-piece with giant Ghanaian centre-back off the field through injury and he was replaced soon afterwards by Mario Booysen.

United emerged for the second period with plenty of purpose and drew level on 51 minutes.

Smeekes showed great determination to get to the byline and cross the ball into the six-yard box and when Stars failed to clear the danger, Isaacks was on hand to crash the ball home.

Siphelele Mthembu had two excellent chances to put Dikwena ahead once more, rounding the goalkeeper twice but failing to find the back of the net. On the first occasion he hit the side-netting, the second he found the base of the post.

Maritzburg goalkeeper Virgil Vries then made an excellent stop to deny Mthembu again, the Stars player was unlucky not to have a hat-trick in the second half alone.

The game went to an extra 30 minutes after the teams could not be separated at fulltime with both goalkeepers making good stops to keep the scores level.

Next up for Stars is a crunch league meeting with Mamelodi Sundowns on Tuesday, while Maritzburg will be back in the North West province to tackle Dikwena again next Saturday, this time at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace.

Platinum Stars (1) [1] 1 (Sarr 44’)
Maritzburg United (0) [1] 1 (Isaacks 51’)

After extra time; Maritzburg win 3-1 on penalties.

Penalty sequence: Jayiya scored, Mere scored; Johannes scored, Botes saved; D Booysen missed, Mathe saved; Isaacks scored, Msomi missed

Stars: Mpontshane, Mere, Mhlongo, Semenya, Mpeta, Mathe, Sarr, Nyanda (Msomi 109’, Tshabalala (Makudubela 54’), Ngele (Botes 63’), S Mthembu.

United: Vries, Matuka, Awal (M Booysen 45’), Johannes, Evans, Mkhize, Hartog (D Booysen 101’), Vilakazi, Jayiya, Smeekes (Mandaza 66’), Isaacks.